The men’s soccer team will play two home games this weekend in the C.U. Inaria Classic, pitting itself against the University of Vermont Catamounts on Friday night and the Wofford Terriers on Sunday at midday. The Red — the only team that is currently undefeated in the Ivy League — has continued to view the season as an individual set of games to be played one at a time.
“The fact that we’re 4-0 isn’t even crossing our minds,” said junior midfielder Stephen Reisert. “We’re taking the game like we’re 0-0.”
A key reason cited by Reisert for the team’s success has been its ability to view every game one at a time and to not focus on future successes. Reisert cited the level of intensity in practice as indicative of this mindset; according to him, not a single player has slacked off or lost sight of each weekend’s game, since the team began its win streak four games ago.
“Everyone’s still working really hard, trying to make each other better,” said junior striker Daniel Haber. “I think we’re all playing for each other; it’s great to be playing for the guy next to you.”
Haber cited the performance of other teams as part of the reason why Cornell works so hard. While in preseason it is tough to make accurate assessments of how individual teams are playing, as the season goes on it becomes increasingly easier to view a team’s playing style and the potential of its players. As such, every game becomes harder to win because the other team has had more time to learn and understand the opponent.
“We’re always trying to fix the things that went wrong because the teams we’re playing in the future will have tape on us and will be better than the teams we’ve played in the past,” Haber said. “When the lights get turned on, it’s a battle.”
The Cornell team will not have a great deal of information on the teams that it is playing this weekend. The Red has only played UVM four times in its history, with the Catamounts winning three of those matches. The record with the Wofford Terriers is even smaller, with the Red only ever playing them once. The team will be benefit though by the fact that it is playing at home.
“Once the game starts and the stands start to fill, you’re playing for your school and your friends and yourself and your team and it completely changes the dynamic and the mood,” Reisert said. “It’s your time to shine and your time to prove yourself.”
There’s nothing else that the players would rather be doing this weekend then representing Cornell soccer, according to Haber.
“Honestly, this is what we all live for,” he said. “Our identity is Cornell soccer players.”