Rick Stimpson doesn’t like to waste time.
Entering Friday night’s season opener the senior tri-captain stood tied with assistant coach Rob Elliot ’97 for the Cornell all-time assist record. It took the Cheshire, England native just under ten minutes to write his name in the record books.
It seems the feeling is contagious on the men’s soccer squad.
Just take the beneficiary of the midfielder’s unselfishness, freshman Colin Nevison who notched his first goal while wearing the carnellian and white in his first ten minutes on the field.
In its innagural game the Red was impressive, coasting to an well-deserved 2-0 win over a solid Boston University squad.
The evening marked a milestone in the annals of Cornell athletics, as the newly renovated Berman Field saw its first action. Five hundred vocal fans filled the new seats and watched a balanced all-around performance by the home side.
The Red played its prototypical upbeat style — marked by a quick tempo punctuated with crisp passing. On the other side of the ball, the defense showed a visible improvement from its performance in the final scrimmage. Coverage for the most part was tight and on-time.
Not to mention the inspiring play of sophomore net-minder Doug Allan. Making his first start, Allan stopped all four shots, sealing the effort for the Red. The stalwart also broke up several corner kicks.
Asked to comment on beginning his career with a shutout, Allan called it “same-old, same-old,” adding, “This is what were going to do game in and game out.”
The action started when Cornell earned a free-kick deep in the Terriers’ zone. Senior Adam Brown started what was a picture-perfect goal sequence. Stimpson took the inbound and dropped it to Nevison who gunned a blistering drive top shelf past the Boston keeper.
“He hit one hell of a shot. He left the ‘keeper no chance,” lauded the record-breaker.
During the hour-long interlude between goals, the Red had some trouble pushing the ball across the midfield through the attack as the Terriers fielded a four-man front. Despite the offensive stagnation, the defense came up strong, helping Cornell nurse its lead.
“The defense did a fabulous job today. Everybody in the back performed really well and just shot them down,” praised Stimpson, who added he was happy to break the assist mark early on in the season.
“I’m really comfortable with the four guys in back. They do a terrific job,” said head coach Bryan Scales in agreement with his tri-captain.
Then in another milestone for the program, Brown blasted a shot from 25-yards out. Although, it appeared that the Boston goalie had recorded a save, the ball deflected off his fingertips to the delight of the Berman faithful. It was Brown’s first goal of his career.
The Red received a thunderous round of applause and foot stomping from the crowd as it marched off the field with its first win of the season.
Junior forward Ted Papadopolous commended the club’s effort, but noted that the team will continue to improve.
“It was a 2-0 win. We definitely played really well, but I want to encourage [the fans] to come back, because we will be playing a lot better than this. That could have been a 4-0 win,” the Massachusetts native noted.
The crowd was definitely the 12th man for the Red on Friday night.
“When the lights are on and the crowd is going, it’s a heightened sense of awareness,” Scales said, explaining his team’s sustained intensity.
It was an intensity that overflowed into yesterday’s contest at Adelphi.
Stimpson continued his domination, finding the back of the net again and adding a helper as the Red edged the Panthers by a 3-1 count. It was the 20th assist in the senior’s glorious career.
Down by a score going into the break, the Red used increasing pressure in the second half. Six minutes in, Cornell received a corner kick. Cambridge native Nick Haigh found Stimpson, who spotted fellow senior David Briefel. The classmates booter found the back of the net to even the score at one.
It must have been something in the air for seniors on the squad over the weekend because Briefel joined Brown in scoring his first goal of his Cornell career.
Nearly 30 minutes later, Stimpson gave Cornell the lead for the first time off a feed from classmate Adam Skumawitz. It was Stimpson’s fourth point of the weekend.
Skumawitz was in a giving mood as he found Papadopoulous for the insurance goal with under two minutes remaining to play.
For Allan it was another strong performance, as he made good on his post-Friday game comments of making his fine play a “same-old, same-old” sort of thing. He surrendered just one goal.
The Red now travel to the Vanderbilt Invitational this weekend to face the host Commodores on Friday evening and powerhouse St. Louis on Sunday.
Archived article by Gary Schueller