The ball just has not bounced the Cornell men’s soccer team’s way this past week. Saturday, the Yale Bulldogs blanked the Big Red booters; last night, they lost a tight 3-2 match against Syracuse at Berman Field.
The contest started on a good note, when senior tri-captain Rick Stimpson fed senior defender Nick Haigh on a restart. Stimpson lobbed the ball to the far post of Syracuse’s goal, and Haigh was able to head it past SU keeper Kevin Bacher.
Stimpson has had at least one point in every game this year, excluding the shutout against Yale.
Three minutes later, the Orangemen struck back. Sophomore Chris Aloisi headed in a free kick from junior John Andrade to even the score.
The see-saw tempo of the first few minutes was characteristic of the entire match — neither team was able to really break the game, and both the Big Red and the Orangemen spent equal time on offense.
Another unfortunate benchmark was spotty officiating. The referees missed what seemed to be routine fouls, which rattled both teams and resulted in highly physical play.
Exasperation almost boiled into real violence. At 44:48, Red junior Ted Papadopoulos was hit with a controversial yellow card for language. Three minutes later, a SU forward trampled on sophomore keeper Andrew Gordon as he dove to make a routine stop. When play pushed to the Orange’s end of the field, a shoving match broke out, which was eventually quelled by the referees.
“In a soccer game, the guys need to know what will be tolerated and what won’t be tolerated,” commented head coach Bryan Scales, “and I think tonight that was blurred [by the officiating].”
But Scales was quick to mention that the team did not lose the game because of the referees.
At 23:12, SU freshman Kirk Johnson tallied the third goal of the match on a breakaway pass from Andrade. In his short stay in Syracuse, Johnson has established himself as an offensive force, with eight points thus far. Last year he was named NCSAA’s Pennsylvania Player of the Year.
“Individual defending was a cause of a few of our problems,” said Scales.
The Red booters came out fired up for the second half, notching a goal at 47:32. Senior Adam Skumawitz headed in a ball from Haigh, after the ball was battered around in the Syracuse box. Skumawitz, last week’s Ivy Player of the Week, now has 10 points on the year.
At 66:19, Andrade scored the game-winner for Syracuse, dribbling from midfield to fire a shot past Gordon.
“It’s a tough loss, but we’re still in a position to accomplish everything we want to accomplish, win the Ivy League title, maybe get into the [NCAA] Tournament,” said Gordon after the game.
With the loss, Cornell’s record falls to 4-4 (1-1 Ivy). Syracuse has won all five of its last five games.
Archived article by Tom McNulty