September 14, 2000

The Wise Men of Men's Soccer

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Think the eight seniors on the Cornell men’s soccer team aren’t hungry for an Ivy League crown this year?

How about this for starters: two of the team’s elder statesmen notched their first goals of their career in play against B.U. and Adelphi last weekend. One tallied two assists in a game, and oh yeah, another broke the all-time university assist record.

Not too shabby.

But what can’t come across through the numbers is the passion and heart that characterize the seniors of the squad.

For this group of booters, reaching the upper echelons of Ancient Eight soccer is simply not enough.

Senior tri-captain Adam Brown knows all about desire. Dubbed the club’s most improved player last year, the Illinois native has positioned himself as the staple of the Red’s defensive unit. The Cal Ripken of the squad, Brown was on the field for every minute of each contest last season.

Developing his two way style, the intrepid back began to join the attack last season. In his first game of the year, Brown persevered with this style. It paid off. The government major drilled a 25-yard shot past the Boston keeper for his first goal of his career.

Think that’s an indication of the drive that this workhorse has? That’s only the beginning.

Midfielder David Briefel is no stranger to success. The captain of his high school soccer team, he led the program to a pair of regional championships. After scoring the first goal of his career in Sunday’s contest versus Adelphi, the graduate of Wilde Lake High School is poised for another title run, this time here on the East Hill. Although he primarily played off the bench in his first two seasons in the carnellian and white, Briefel should play an increasing role in the club’s drive toward an Ivy crown.

Timing is everything and Briefel’s inaugural tally did come at a crucial point in Sunday’s match. With the Red trailing by a 1-0 count entering the 2nd half, Briefel’s goal put Cornell on the board to even the score.

Beginning to see the pattern?

Key plays at crucial time for the Red courtesy of their seniors this past weekend. And if this is the beginning of something habitual, just imagine where the squad could go this year.

Speaking of senior standouts, how about the play of forward Adam Skumawitz. Among the elite players in the Ancient Eight, he is characterized by his physical tenacity. Last season he found the back of the net once and added three helpers. The Fallbrook, California, native continued his stellar performance to begin this year’s campaign. He was indeed magnanimous, adding two assists this weekend to go along with his rugged play.

Rounding out the corps is Richard Stimpson. The midfielder only managed to break the all-time assist record in the first ten minutes of the season and then went on to accrue four points in the opening weekend of the season. Then again, this comes from a player who is a three time All-Ivy team selection and a former Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

If the intensity shown by the senior class in the first weekend is any indication of a trend, there is indeed no ceiling for the expectations of this club.

Then there are the intangibles. The leadership qualities. The contagious heart. The ever-valuable experience factor.

Don’t think these attributes have gone unnoticed by the highly-touted freshman class.

Just ask freshman starter Colin Nevison.

“They do a great job of leading the team on and off the field,” the rookie said.

Head coach Bryan Scales agrees.

“They’ve done a terrific job,” he said, commending the seniors.

The group is indeed a role model for the freshman.

“[The seniors] keep things focused and make sure the team is working hard,” Nevison said.

“They’re a good group of guys to look up to,” he added.

Scales believes that the group sets a tone.

“[Those guys] are experienced and everybody looks to them,” he lauded.

The seniors hope to impart the most important lesson of all this year, and one that the first year players can carry for the next four years — the recipe for an Ivy League crown.

Archived article by Gary Schueller