The men’s soccer team will conclude its non-league season with a mid-week engagement with the thriving Oneonta Red Dragons tonight in West Oneonta — home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
A 3-1 defeat at the hands of surging Dartmouth on Saturday afternoon at Berman Field dashed the Red’s waning chance to grab a share of the Ivy League title. Cornell began lethargically, and paid for it. Third-string sophomore net-minder Carlos Rodriguez surrendered three goals in the opening stanza. By the intermission, the Red had dug itself in a hole from which it could not escape.
In the second half the squad awoke and, led by veteran senior Jay Rosen, closed the gap to 3-1. Rosen scored courtesy of a crisp pass from senior tri-captain Richard Stimpson.
The club had seemingly edged to within a goal in the final two minutes, but senior Adam Skumawitz was flagged for a handball nullifying his thought-to-be score.
Another bright spot in the second half was the play of Rodriguez, who recorded nine saves on the day. He was a virtual wall in the final forty-five minutes, making several dazzling diving saves. With classmates Doug Allan and Andrew Gordon both sidelined by injury, Rodriguez will get the starting nod in the final two games. This should provide the club with a chance to increase its depth between the pipes.
The defeat dropped the Red to 7-8 (3-3, Ivy), but with two road games left the club has a chance to finish above .500 overall and in league play.
The Red Dragons could prove to be a tough opponent for Cornell. Oneonta is 9-5-1 and was riding a three-game winning streak, before bowing to Colgate 1-0 in its last action on October 21.
The 44-year old program has had its shares of turbulence. In the 70’s and 80’s the squad was a powerhouse in the Northeast, having staked the claim after capturing two ECAC championships, five SUNYAC champions and reaching the NCAA championship game in 1972.
But the Oneonta program has suffered in recent years. Nonetheless, with a solid recruiting effort and new coach Ian McIntyre at the helm, the squad is poised to become a regional force.
The Red Dragons’ leader shares alma matters with Cornell’s head coach Bryan Scales. McIntyre enjoyed success as a player at Hartwick College. As a sweeper, he helped the Hawks reach the NCAA quarterfinals in 1993 and the final-16 in 1995. A two-year team captain, McIntyre was an All-American as a senior before taking over the sidelines in West Oneonta.
Cornell will have its hand full with senior co-captain Kenny Murray. The Grenada native garnered Regional All-American honors and was named to the First Team All-Independent squad. Murray has been an integral component to the club’s renaissance and the booters’ defense will have to be mindful of his creative, dynamic style of play.
Senior Mitchell Walters will look to close down the Red’s offensive game. A 1999 second-team All-Independent honoree, he is a highly aggressive, tenacious defender. Cornell must find a way to create offensive opportunities that enable it to allude the Academic All-American.
Cornell and Oneonta have only shared one opponent, Hartwick. Both coaches came up short at their alma matters. The Red was outdone 7-2, while the Hawks edged Oneonta 2-0.
The Red will end its season with an Ivy League tilt at Columbia on Saturday.
Archived article by Gary Schueller