Something wasn’t right in Madison Heck’s mind. He sent in the corner kick, but he couldn’t see his main target, 6-foot-7 junior Liam Crotty. The play had developed, and after the dust settled and the ball was cleared, Crotty was on the ground and Air Force’s Cameron Duley was sent off the field with a red card. The penalty had occurred in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the Red, a golden chance to get a spark for the Red and equalize the game, 1-1.
“Apparently there was a scrum, and [Duley] threw a punch. The referee had a good look at [the play] and he made the right call,” Heck said. “He gave [Duley] a red card, which should always happen when there’s a punch thrown, then we got the penalty kick.”
Heck was able to convert the kick in the 81st minute and send the game into sudden-death overtime.
Mistakes continued for the Falcons in overtime. After Heck sent in a free kick in the 96th minute, the ball hit off the head of an Air Force defender and resulted in an own goal, giving the Red a 2-1 win, its first of the season.
Despite being undermanned after a red card, the Red was able to force an overtime draw, 0-0, against Duquesne on Friday. Cornell ultimately came away with the CU Inaria Cup title. The Red (1-5-1) had previously lost its first five games.
“It’s a big turn-around, and it’s great to finally get some results on the win sheet,” said junior Jack Ferguson. “I think that after two overtime games which really showed our character, we have what it takes to do well this season. Hopefully this will be a stepping stone in the right direction.”
Heck said he agreed that the team may be on its way to more victories.
“We’ve known all along this season that we can play like this,” Heck said. “If we play to our full potential and everybody works as hard as they possibly can, which we have these past two games, then we can come out with the results we want every single time.”
Head coach Jaro Zawislan also said he was pleased to see the improvement of the team not only this weekend, but also the games leading up to the Inaria Cup.
“We were getting better in the stretch of the five games,” he said. “That’s what we expect of our team, to keep making progress. It wasn’t good enough to get the win on Friday, but it was good enough to get a positive result.”
Two overtime games in the span of three days, however, has clearly taken a toll on the team.
“Recovery will be the priority for the next 24 hours,” Zawislan said. “After playing on Friday and Sunday, both overtime games, that definitely takes a physical toll on the players’ bodies. But that just shows the character of this group — playing the next play, playing for the last second of the game, and pushing for the equalizer. Again, credit to our group for staying the course.”
The Red is hoping to have a two-game win streak after Wednesday, when it will travel to Oneonta, New York to take on Hartwick College.