Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel was having the kind of day he usually could only dream of.
The men’s football team had squeaked out a win against Ivy foe Princeton, taking the driver’s seat in the race for the league crown, the hockey team had capped its pre-season with a triumphant fifty-plus shot performance and the basketball team showed signs of brilliance during it annual Red-White game.
Men’s soccer tri-captain Senior Rick Stimpson wanted to make sure to keep Noel smiling. The England native ended a thrilling scoreless soccer match with a dazzling goal in the second over-time session prompting a bench-clearing celebration.
The win halted the Red’s three-game loosing skid and improved its Ancient Eight mark to 3-2.
Asked dropping three in a row, Cornell (6-7) appeared rejuvenated in Saturday’s contest.
“The Ivy games are very special for us. If you can’t get up for those games then you really shouldn’t be here. Coming off two consecutive looses we knew we had to get it straight today,” Stimpson said.
Head coach Bryan Scales was encouraged by his squad’s ability to bounce back.
“I’m really proud of the way…they were able to battle back,” he lauded.
The match also saw sophomore Doug Allen return to his post between the pipes. The California native turned in a solid performance, making nine saves in a shutout performance.
Allen’s counterpart, sophomore Jason White posted an equally impressive outing collecting 11 saves.
The teams were deadlocked, each with 20 shots in a scoreless contest until the 113th minute. Senior Adam Skumawitz got the ball and weaved through a defender at midfield. He then connected on a lead pass to Stimpson who beat White on a blistering shot that found the back of the net.
Both clubs had several decent offensive opportunities in regulation. Freshman Ian Pilarksi and senior tri-captain Adam Brown preserved Allen’s shutout, thwarting two Princeton scoring threats.
Scales, who has allowed his rookies increased playing time of late, nearly saw more dividends when Evan Weiner nearly beat White with just over two minutes to go in regulation. The freshman notched his first collegiate goal in the club’s 7-2 loss at Hartwick.
In the first overtime session the Red had a golden opportunity when the Princeton netminder was caught out of the box, but fanned on at least two shot opportunities. Stimpson was the most prominent target for the Cornell offense and he initiated several offensive threats.
Going into the second over-time, Stimpson said the strategy was simple. Pleased with the club’s efforts in the first session, he said the idea was “to keep the pressure on and make sure not to give away anything silly.”
After giving up eleven goals during its three game loosing streak, the defensive cohesion was a pleasant surprise for the Red.
Stimpson attributed the effort to the team’s grit.
“We showed a lot of character today to be able to come back and turn in a performance like that, and get a shutout,” he lauded.
Scales agreed, adding that “good individual defending leads to good collective defending.”
He praised the efforts of the backfield in pacing the all-around team defensive performance.
With the class of 1975 Ivy League championship team looking on, the Red had an additional source of inspiration.
The booters next host Army on tomorrow at 7 p.m. on Berman Field.
Despite the win, Brown’s victory over Pennsylvania eliminated the Red from the hunt for an Ivy League title. Perhaps, Cornell was unable to piece all of its components together this year, but one thing it has shown that it is not lacking is heart.
With a solid corps of freshman, led by the inspiring play of Pilarski, the future is bright in the Cornell camp.
And that will keep Noel smiling for years to come.
Archived article by Gary Schueller