Their impact is evident. This year’s senior class has brought the men’s soccer team from one lone win four years ago to one win away from a .500 record with one game to go — an unheard of concept then.
“For us, it’s easy to take a four-year sample and see what type of impact these guys have made,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “When they were freshmen, we really struggled. We plotted our course of action and have been trying to build and strengthen the program since. The fact that we could get a .500 record is tangible evidence that this senior class has truly influenced the program. We haven’t been .500 since ’01.”
“We have reestablished this program as competitive,” said senior tri-captain Kyle Lynch. “We have replaced the mindset that we would lose with the confidence that we can win. We got to see evidence that we made the team from one of the worst teams in the NCAAs to a team that can compete with any opponent.”
Scales had nothing but praise for his grauating class: Brian Kuritzky, Kyle Lynch, Bob Putko, Jarid Siegel (who will stay another year at Cornell after missing two years with injuries), Aaron Vieira and Sean Mooney. Both the program and the players have benefitted from the past few years and all of the seniors consider their time on the team as integral to their experience here.
“We’ve had some tough times, but the experience as a whole has been great,” Vieira, a tri-captain, said. “These guys are my best friends.”
“Soccer has obviously been a huge commitment over the years, but it’s made my time at Cornell,” Putko said. “The guys on the team are my best friends, and my experience here would not have been complete without it. It’s also a big source of pride for us. We’ve built the program from the ground up, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Jarid Siegel, the third captain, has played alongside the seniors in the past, but due to injuries he has missed this season and last season; he decided to red shirt one season and will have the opportunity to play again next season.
“I’m definitely torn,” Siegel said. “It’s very sad to see my closest friends on the team go, yet I’m also excited to play next year, especially because the program has gotten progressively better since I came to Cornell.”
The seniors on the team have not just led the team on the soccer field, but have shown themselves to be great role models in every respect.
“The seniors have been great examples for all of the players,” Scales said. “It’s more than just soccer — these guys all come from different backgrounds and experiences, but they all have respect for one another and for me. That is a great source of pride. It validates the human side, not just the soccer side. It tells me that we have the right guys.”
Scales thinks the tough years the seniors went through has given the younger players a fighting spirit that has brought the squad to where it is now.
“I have a lot of respect for these guys,” Scales said. “They’re battle hardened and they and the program is better for it.”