The Red (1-13-1, 0-5-1 Ivy) has a chance to salvage a desired result in its last game of the season, when it leaves Ithaca for the bright lights of New York to take on Columbia (3-10-3, 1-4-1 Ivy).
Coming into tomorrow’s game after a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Dartmouth at Berman Field a weekend ago, the Red’s play over the past few weeks has been improved, as has its ability to create more scoring opportunities. According to head coach Bryan Scales, the three teams which have already won or have a chance to win a share of the league — Dartmouth, Princeton and Brown — are all squads which the Red has played strongly against in the past weeks.
“We are at a stage of the season where we’re wrapping things up and this has been a bitterly disappointing season,” Scales said. “But one thing that has been consistent over the last two to three weeks is our performances have been quite good.”
Yet, scoring goals has continued to be the thorn in the Red’s side. The Red has scored two league goals and six overall this season — both tallies being lowest among the Ivies. But the Red might have found the right combination in juniors Pape Seye and Kuda Wekwete — players among others, who have combined well up top in recent games.
Although it has also struggled this season, Columbia is going into tomorrow’s game on a mini-streak. After dropping its first four games in league play, it defeated Yale, 1-0, before earning a tough 1-1 draw at Harvard a week later.
Columbia’s attack is spearheaded by the strike duo of Thorsteinn Gestsson and Tom Davidson — a partnership which has combined for eight goals and five assists this season. In addition, Scales said the team will look for freshman midfielder Tom Heinbockel to also cause problems in an urban environment which will provide many distractions.
“When we go down to Columbia, that environment forces us to concentrate and stick together,” Scales said. “[Columbia is] pretty athletic and as with all our games, we’re going to need to be very sound defensively and then be able to launch our attacks forward out of good, solid collective defending. We’re going to try to make them make mistakes.” During this last week of practice, Scales said that the team has prepared for tomorrow’s match by keeping things fresh. In one practice, they even went up to play on North Campus’ Jessup Field — where intramural soccer teams play — to simulate the poor, bumpy pitch the team will be faced with when it takes on the Lions tomorrow.
Although the season has not gone the Red’s way, Scales said that he hopes the team could get the win — especially for the six seniors that are departing this year.
“They definitely want to go out on a high note and they want to feel good about themselves and there’s no better way to do that than to get a ‘W’,” Scales said. “Anytime you can get a ‘W’, it just helps your confidence and I think if we can find a way to get a win to end a disappointing season like this one, it gives us something to build on, it makes a statement not only to the rest of the team, but it makes a statement to other teams in the league that this team doesn’t quit.”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor