It has been a difficult season for the Cornell men’s soccer team — the Red currently sits in last place in the Ivy League, and the most recent heartbreaks include an overtime loss against Brown and a one-goal loss against Princeton.
Despite the disappointing season, the Red (1-12-2, 0-5-0 Ivy) will look to play with “complete abandon” in its final home game of the season against Dartmouth on Saturday.
“We don’t have anything to lose in this match,” said head coach John Smith. “Dartmouth has a lot to lose as a loss against us would likely see them fall out of contention in the national picture.”
Dartmouth is currently tied for second place in the Ivy League, and ranks No. 20 nationally according to the NCAA Men’s RPI poll. The Green, while unranked in the NSCAA Coaches Poll, have received votes.
The Red hopes to use this record as fuel to making a strong statement during the game.
“Obviously, we would like to win — there is no bigger statement at any level of competition than to just go out there and get the job done,” Smith said. “Outside of that, I would expect the guys to continue to give their best from first to last minute.”
Freshman George Pedlow echoed these sentiments and said he expects the team to exert full effort.
“Our primary aim is to give 100 percent, both individually and as a team,” Pedlow said. “If we can walk off the field at the end of the game smiling because we know we gave it our all, it’ll be something to be proud of.”
Pedlow continued to say that a win would would be a silver lining in an otherwise punishing season.
“To win at home for our last home game would be an adequate representation of what I think has been an involved and challenging schedule, and a hard-fought season for us,” he said.
Smith credited Dartmouth’s success to strong and consistent coaching. The first-year coach praised them as a model team for the league.
“I believe they set the bar for the rest of the league as far as what we should all aspire to be like,” Smith said. “They are a very well balanced team and they have the kind of depth you need to be successful at this level. They are very well coached and this is evident in their defensive organization and their attacking moments — they are a dangerous group.”
Pedlow had similar praise for the Green, but said he believes there are weaknesses on the defensive side that the team can exploit.
“[Dartmouth is] strong offensively. [They have] good attacking players and the ability to thread goals and finish well,” Pedlow said. “I don’t think they’re incredibly talented defensively, at least player for player. I’m looking forward to the challenge personally of going head to head with some of them.”
With two games left, the Red is looking for something to be optimistic about carrying on to spring training and to next season.
“The team is looking forward to this last [home] game,” Pedlow said. “This is a moment we all will relish, especially as the season has flown by. A strong show against Dartmouth could be instrumental for our progress pushing forward, and leading into the spring.”
The Red play Dartmouth Saturday at 5 pm at Berman Field.