Last Wednesday, men’s soccer head coach Bryan Scales returned to his alma matter, Hartwick, for a midweek matchup with the regional foe. It was not a happy return.
The booters returned to Ithaca after being thrashed 7-2. It was the club’s worst defeat of the season and extended Cornell’s skid to three games. Prior to Wednesday’s contest the Red surrendered a 3-2 crucial Ivy League match to Brown.
It was the second half of action at Hartwick that did the Red in as it surrendered a staggering four goals in the stanza.
During the recent three-game meltdown, the squad has been outscored 11-4. The streak began following an inspiring overtime victory at Ancient Eight foe Harvard. The squad had appeared its misfortunes around.
Well aware of its own Ivy League mortality, Cornell returns to Berman Field when Princeton comes to town for a Saturday evening duel. The members of the 1975 Ivy League championship squad will be honored at half-time.
The Red (5-7, 2-2 Ivy) most win to preserve its slim chance of capturing an Ivy League crown. Currently, the booters sit in fifth place in the standings.
To accomplish its goal Cornell must tighten its defensive which has suffered massive communication breakdowns of late.
The Tigers (7-5-1, 1-3 Ivy) arrive on the East Hill victors of a 3-0 contest against Harvard last weekend. It was Princeton’s first win in league play and snapped a three game loosing streak.
Princeton has started its season on fire, starting the 2000 campaign with a 4-0 mark. It allowed just two goals in the contests, and posted an equal number of shutouts.
Nevertheless, it has been a streaky year for the foes from New Jersey. The start was followed by a period in which the Tigers lost five of seven, collecting just two wins in eight contests prior to the showdown with the Crimson.
Midseason losses to Dartmouth, Columbia and Brown have all but rendered Princeton ineligible to compete for the Ancient Eight title.
The Red is hoping that history does not repeat itself. Last year on the road, Cornell was upended by the Tigers 3-1. Senior Adam Skumawitz tallied the lone goal for the team.
Like last season, this matchup will have important Ivy League ramifications. After the loss in ’99, Cornell ended up just one game behind Princeton in the loss column in the Ancient Eight standings. Princeton’s 5-1-1 mark was good enough to capture the championship. It was the first time the Tigers won the title outright since the Eisenhower administration.
Although the Tigers graduated two of their three First Team All-Ivy selections in Chad Adams and Griff Behncke, sophomore netminder Jason White returns. After posting a league best 0.62 goals against average in Ivy play, he has again been a spark plug for the team. White tied a Princeton record collecting eight shutouts last season.
In contrast, the Red’s plans between the pipes have been anything but consistent. Sophomore Doug Allen began the season, but was then replaced by classmate Andrew Gordon. Carlos Rodriguez, the sophomore Columbia native started against Hartwick, but after surrendering seven goals, plans may again change for Cornell.
The one thing that has been constant for the Red this season is its unwavering heart and vision for an Ivy title. That dream will be on the line Saturday night at 7 p.m. on Berman Field.
Archived article by Gary Schueller