Coming off of a heartbreaking 1-0 double-overtime loss in its home opener to local rival Buffalo on Wednesday night, the men’s soccer team will have to regroup quickly as it travels to New England to take on No. 19 Boston University (4-0-2) this Sunday.
“Anytime you lose in sudden- death overtime it’s a bit of a shock. But I’m confident they’ll get over it quickly and be prepared for our game this weekend,” head coach Bryan Scales said.
Although the Red (1-3-1) has had some trouble pulling out tight matches, it has played well of late, handing New Hampshire its first defeat of the year last Sunday and playing right with a talented Buffalo team for 103 minutes on Wednesday.
The Red will need to bring all of the momentum it can get into this weekend, however, as it will be facing an undefeated Terrier team that has its sights set on a national championship.
[img_assist|nid=18321|title=Allez les Rouges|desc=Senior co-captain Dan Marks battles for possession during this past Wednesday’s game against Buffalo.(Robert Bonow / Sun Photo Editor)|link=popup|align=left|width=66|height=100]
“Boston is obviously a very talented team; one that is probable an NCAA tournament team,” Scales said. “But we’re going to go in there expecting to win the game; We look forward to the challenge.”
The Terriers are led on offense by sophomore Petur Sigurdsson — a forward from Iceland who has tallied four goals on the year — and classmate Neil Hlavaty, who has added two goals and an assist following a freshman campaign which earned him America East All-Rookie team honors.
On defense Boston looks even more dominant, as it has outscored its opponents 9-3 on the year, led by senior co-captain goalkeeper Zach Riffett.
Riffett has accumulated a stunning 33 saves on the year in nearly 600 minutes to go along with a 0.45 goals against average and a .917 saves percentage. He also earned America East player of the week honors last week for his shutdown performances against Ohio State and Penn State.
Cornell will counter with an offense that has sputtered to open the season — failing to score more than one goal in a game this year — but has the talent to do some damage. Speedy sophomore forward
Dana Flanders leads the team in points thus far with a goal and an assist and will be aided by the experienced presence of senior midfielder Tom Marks.
“I think we have the talent this year to score more goals, we just haven’t been able to put together good combinations and put our money where our mouth is,” Scales said.
The strong suit of the team, however, is its defense, as Cornell’s co-captains — junior Kyle Lynch and senior Dan Marks — will look to lock down the Terrier scoring attack throughout the contest. Dan Marks will also try to get foreward on free kicks, as the senior scored the gamewinner last Sunday against New Hampshire.
Sophomore Luca Cerretani will start in net for the Red as he continues to fill in for last year’s starter Steve Lesser, who is battling meniscus problems in his knee. On the year Cerretani has 11 saves and a 0.95 goals against average in almost 300 minutes guarding the net.
“I always look for the team to be solid defensively,” Scales said. “And Luca has really stepped up for us the past couple of games.”
Unfortunately, the Red will not be able to face B.U. at full strength as six contributors to the team are currently out with injuries: Lesser, senior forward Brian Scruton, junior Midfielder Jarid Siegel, sophomore back Aaron Vieira, sophomore forward David Browning and freshman back Matt Devitt.
“Everyone has to deal with injuries so all we can do is hope we get those guys back soon,” Scales said. “Right now our main focus is getting healthy, improving every game, and ultimately preparing for the Ivy League schedule.”