In matches in which physical encounters are standard and game-breaking plays determine wins from losses, the Red (1-9-0, 0-3-0 Ivy) fought for 90 minutes against Yale (3-7-0, 2-1-0 Ivy) — but was one big play short.
A goal by Yale star Andrew Dealy followed by a quick second from sophomore forward Alex Munns was enough to overcome a stunning strike by Red senior Steve Reuter to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 win on Saturday night at a chilly Berman Field.
Falling to a humbling 4-0 loss to Harvard a week before, the Red came storming out — using a more attack-minded formation to disrupt Yale”s defense. The dividends to its adjustments almost paid off in eighth minute. After sophomore defender Tom Marks won a corner kick, the ensuing delivery found an unmarked Peter Lynch. The senior defender was unlucky however, as his header beat Yale goalkeeper Dwayne Whylly, but slammed off the crossbar.
‘If we score that goal in the beginning of the game, the game starts to take a little different shape,’ said head coach Bryan Scales.
Still, the Red kept pressing throughout the half, as Yale found it difficult to break through Cornell”s backline. Lynch and senior classmate Scott Palguta were particularly strong in defense and senior goalkeeper David Mahoney kept the teams even after making a diving save from a Nick Franchot shot in the 28th minute. Mahoney had four saves on the night.
In the second half, the Bulldogs attacked with more vigor and were rewarded by an individual effort by Dealy in the 58th minute. Dealy, who was marked well by the Red for most of the game, found space on the left, dribbled past a couple of Cornell defenders before firing a shot in the top right corner, beating Mahoney. It was Dealy”s fourth goal of the season.
‘I thought we handled [Dealy] pretty well for most of the game. He”s a dangerous player — I think the top midfielder in the league — and you saw what happened when you lose track of him,’ Scales said.
While the Red was trying to regroup after Yale”s goal, the Bulldogs doubled its lead two minutes later. A fantastic long ball from the midfield found sophomore James Stewart on the right wing, and he drove down into Cornell”s defensive third before crossing to find classmate Munns. Munns”s first-time strike beat Mahoney and gave the striker his third goal of the season.
‘We tend to do that a lot, take breaks as a team, and everyone is burying us for it,’ Palguta said in response to the team”s concentration between the two goals. ‘We fell asleep there for a good 10 minutes and that”s when they popped two goals in.’
With the Red two goals down and Yale content to sit back on defense, Cornell needed a spark to get back into the game. That spark came from Reuter in the 70th minute.
He found space on the left side of the midfield before stepping up and blasting a curling 30-yard right-footed shot to the far post. Beating Whylly, the ball deflected off the bottom of the crossbar before settling into the back of the net, giving the senior his first goal of the season.
‘I must”ve taken 50 of those this year in practice and finally I get one in a game, and I just hit it as hard as I could and it just happened to go up in the upper 90,’ Reuter said.
While the Red pressed for the final 20 minutes, they could not penetrate the Yale defense, which played all of its players behind the ball towards the end of the game. Still, Scales, who compared the Harvard and Yale performances as ‘night and day’ said that his team competed much better this week and its willingness to battle improved.
‘I think we played a lot better than we played last weekend but it wasn”t good enough,’ Palguta said. ‘We haven”t figured out a way to make it good enough yet.’
Although Yale and Cornell were pretty even throughout the 90 minutes, Reuter acknowledges that it was the Bulldogs” ability to finish its opportunities which proved to be the difference.
‘Both teams were pretty evenly matched, both teams made pretty big plays, it”s just we didn”t capitalize on some of their mistakes and they did on ours,’ Reuter said. ‘It”s just a matter of putting away our chances when we make mistakes.’
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Writer