On Friday night, the men’s soccer team held its last public scrimmage at the renovated Berman Field. Fans and coaches got a taste of a Big Red team with a shot at an Ivy title.
Head coach Bryan Scales worked out his team in drills before pitting the first string against the second string in a 90-minute matchup. The first string dominated, winning by a 4-1 count.
“These guys shouldn’t have a problem working that long,” Scales said about the prolonged evening, “we went for 90 minutes against Binghamton and in three games we played [in England].”
Both the first and second strings played a at physically tough, intense pace. Players on both squads cried for fouls that weren’t called, and there was a high degree of contact on both sides of the field. At the half, senior forward Adam Skumawitz needed stitches for a gash in his cheek.
A scare came in the second half, when senior co-captain defender Adam Brown fell to the ground after being kicked in the shin. An audible crack could be heard in the bleachers.
“Fortunately, it was only Adam’s shinpad that broke,” Scales said. Brown returned to action shortly after the incident.
The first squad peppered the second team’s goal with shots during the the last half of the game, but Scales still thought the offense wasn’t perfected.
“The toughest part of soccer is establishing the transition between midfield and attack. If we can push the ball up and get the ball from [junior midfielder] Ozzie [Rodriguez] to [senior tri-captain] Rick [Stimson], we’ll be in good shape.”
One disappointment for the Red was the lack of alertness in the back. According to Scales, the defense must keep its head on a swivel throughout the season to be successful.
The high intensity of play began to wane towards the end of the second half, and the Red will need to keep its speed of play quick to win games. Part of Scales’ philosophy is to keep the opposing team on its toes by playing faster than it is accustomed to. Scales hopes his team will win by tiring the opposition out.
“This is a good, well-motivated team,” Scales summed up, “but we’re not good enough to be complacent.
“I’m proud with the way they played today.”
Archived article by Tom McNulty