The men’s soccer team (5-4-1, 0-3-3 Ivy) won’t have to go far this evening as it travels up I-81 to meet the Syracuse Orangemen (7-7-1, 4-5-1 Big East). The 7 p.m. kickoff at the Soccer Stadium of Lampe Athletics Complex will be the first of four all-important intrastate regional games for the Red.
Both teams have a lot to gain with a victory, aside from local bragging rights, an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament is still up for grabs. Cornell currently is ranked 25th in the NCSAA/Addidas national coaches poll and ranked no. 2 in the New York state region. Syracuse is not ranked nationally, but is no. 6 within the region.
Head coach Bryan Scales is not a big believer in polls, “The polls are not something that we concern ourselves with.”
The Orangemen are winless in their past four games and have lost their last three decisions. It is their longest losing streak since losing the last five games of the 2000 season. In Syracuse’s last game it dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to No. 23 Notre Dame in South Bend, IN on last Saturday. Junior midfielder Darren Ingles scored the lone Syracuse goal during the 81st minute. Senior forward Kirk Johnson who doubles as the team goal scoring leader (12) picked up an assist.
For Syracuse, this is the last regular season game and it anxiously awaits to see if it will get a berth to the Big East postseason tournament. They are on the outside looking in right now and are at the mercy of how other conference teams play out the remainder of their conference games.
This is not true for the Red. “We are in the driver’s seat right now. We can control our own destiny,” Scales said in reference to his team having the opportunity to run the table against four New York regional teams. If the Red can pull off this feat, it will undoubtedly remain in the no. 2 regional spot and make it hard for the NCAA tournament selection committee to turn it away.
Junior team captain and defender Liam Hoban has recently impressed more than just his coach and teammates. For the week of Nov. 5th, Hoban was named to the All-Ivy Honor Roll team for his last two strong performances. He scored on a penalty kick against Dartmouth last Sunday on the road and led the defense against both Dartmouth and Army the game before in a 2-0 shutout in West Point, NY.
“Liam [Hoban] has been a leader vocally and by example all season, and he calmly and coolly executed his penalty kick [against Dartmouth],” said Scales.
Last year Syracuse stormed on to Berman Field on Oct. 4th and came away with a 3-2 win. Senior back Nick Haigh scored on a header in the 2nd minute. The Orangemen scored the next two goals and took a 2-1 lead into halftime. The Red came out quickly again in the second half as Hague assisted forward Adam Skumawitz ’01 for the equalizer during the 48th minute. Syracuse had the last laugh, but Cornell looks to return the favor in its house tonight.
“Syracuse is very dangerous going forward, and our back four, strong all season, will have to deal with these forwards. We are going to have to find a way to create opportunities,” said Scales.
On a side note, Cornell assistant coach Kevin Bacher was the winning goalkeeper in last year’s meeting between these two teams. Bacher had 9 saves for Syracuse and had a big role in the win.
Scales said about Bacher: “He is going to have some funny emotions, but he is a competitor and is going to be pulling hard for our guys to win.”
Archived article by Donald Lee