On Tuesday night, Hartwick may have commanded the first 22 seconds of play; however, the Red dominated the remainder of the game — adding a 4-1 victory to its ‘W’ column.
The Hawks made their presence known from the moment the whistle blew. Freshman back David Styles quickly got down to business, serving the ball into the box from the left side of the field, where senior forward Cleyon Brown was able to make good on a header. Hartwick (2-3-2) earned a one-goal advantage, while Cornell (8-0-0) found itself down for the second game in a row.
“[The early goal] was a quick wake-up call for us as a team,” said sophomore midfielder Atticus DeProspo. “It kind of got us back into [the game], focused and concentrated on our game plan and high pressuring [the Hawks] and making sure we had to do our jobs individually and as a collective team effort too.”
Cornell was quick to reclaim the game’s momentum, as junior forward Daniel Haber broke through just over seven minutes later. Senior forward Tyler Regan was fouled from behind — earning a penalty kick for the Red. Haber converted the kick, sending it high to the right beyond Hartwick sophomore goalkeeper Tom Buckner and successfully tying the game at one all.
“We were a little disappointed that we came out flat,” Haber said. “But, we picked our stuff up and quickly rebounded, which we know we are capable of.”
After earning the equalizing goal, the Red stepped up the momentum on the field. In the 27th minute, Regan lifted Cornell over Hartwick, 2-1. The forward capitalized off a long ball from the midfield and beat Buckner, shooting the ball low and right. The pass bounced between a Hawks defender and Regan, before he found a breakaway opportunity which he followed through on. Cornell finished the first half racking up 12 shots to Hartwick’s four and leading 2-1 going into the next 45 minutes of play.
“We're resilient, and it's one of the things that we pride ourselves on,” Regan said. “[Head coach Jaro Zawislan] always says, 'The game's never over. The game's never out of reach,' and we embody that.”
The second half was even stronger for the Red, as Haber notched his second goal of the game. Haber put away his nation-leading 13th goal of the season at the 65-minute mark, after receiving a pass from Regan. The junior cut inside the box, outmuscled a defender and sunk the shot behind Buckner — giving Cornell a 3-1 lead.
The game looked like it was in the bag for the Red; however, one more player was able to light the scoreboard up for Cornell’s fourth goal of the night. With 11 minutes left to go, DeProspo scored for the first time in his collegiate career. Regan sent the ball streaking up the right side of the box, where DeProspo was waiting to bury it in the net.
“My teammates did such a great job, so I was really happy,” DeProspo said. “Coach [Joe] Schneck had been pushing me and pushing me and pushing me to get into the box, I just happened to be in the right place. Tyler Regan did a great job, and it was a team effort to get the ball up there.”
With the win, Cornell earned its best start to a season in program history. The Red has extended its non-conference unbeaten streak to 16 games and increased the school record to 24 consecutive games with at least one goal. The team has been making headlines recently, as players have earned national recognition for their accomplishments on the pitch, including Haber and Regan.
“[Haber and Regan] will be the first one to say that their individual recognitions, their individual play, their individual styles are the outcome of the full team effort,” Zawislan said.
Against Hartwick, Haber scored his 30th point of the season and earned the fifth-place spot (23) on the all-time career goals list for Cornell. While Haber shined on the field, other players were able to get to some more playing time and contribute to the team’s overall effort.
“We pride ourselves on the quality of the depth we have,” Zawislan said.
While the final score was clearly in favor of the Red, Hartwick gave Cornell a run for its money, according to Zawislan.
“It wasn’t an easy game,” he said. “Hartwick was a quality, solid team and we had to come up with special plays to break them down.”
The coach credited the Hawks for coming out sharp, executing good sequences and attacks and putting away the chance in the first minute of play. Soccer is a game where teams need to be sharp from the first play to the last play, Zawislan said.
Looking forward, Cornell is set to begin conference play, welcoming Ivy foe Penn to Berman Field on Saturday at 7 p.m. Ivy League play is one of the most competitive conferences in the country, according to Zawislan, so as the Red enters the second half of the season, the team will need to step up its level of play once more.
The Quakers (2-7-0) have had a rough start to their season, losing their first six games before winning last weekend against Farleigh Dickinson, 3-2, and Rider, 7-2. Most recently, Penn competed against Drexel, but fell 2-1 in the Wednesday game. The Quakers have given up 23 goals this season, putting them at the top of the Ivy League. Penn is currently leading the overall series against the Red, 59-29-13; however, Cornell left smiling last year, as Haber scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute left to play in the then-scoreless match. Before 2011, the Red has not beaten the Quakers since 2005.
“We have a very bitter taste in our mouth with the way that Ivy [play] ended last year,’ Haber said. “We’ve been hungry and we’re ready for it, but we knew that all we could do beforehand it was take care of our out-of-conference schedule. We’re really happy with the way we’ve done that and we’re really excited and we’re ready for it. It’s what we’ve been waiting for all year.”
Last year Cornell finished third in the league, so the Red will look to record its ninth victory of the season and lift a win streak over Penn to two games.