September 28, 2001

A Classic Fall, Part II

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So what if the football team took a giant step towards throwing away its season last Saturday against Yale? True, it may receive the most press and the most notoriety (primarily from this newspaper), but say that football is the be-all, end-all of the fall sports season is to be blind to all the other surprises that the autumn should offer.

Though this columnist will be in the Colgate press box tomorrow watching the football team (hopefully) recover from last week’s debacle and eating what are supposed to some most excellent cookies that the Colgate sports department serves at half-time, the real action will be back on East Hill.

Perhaps you’ve naively ignored all that’s happened already this fall on the Cornell sports scene. From the boisterous fans yelling “String Boy” at men’s soccer games to butt-whippings issued by several Cornell teams to their opponents, it’s an exciting time to be a Big Red fan.

Maybe you’re reading this while you’re on line for hockey tickets, but keep in mind that there’s a whole sports season that’ll taking center stage before those boys get on the ice.

If you looked at the cover of the fall sports supplement, you hopefully saw the menacing mugs of men’s cross-country runners, Geoff Van Fleet and Max King. Though they’ve probably been overshadowed by the women during the last few years, it could finally be they’re year in 2001, after finishing fourth at Heps and second IC4As.

And it’s not like the women will be far behind either. Led by Carlan Gray, Halle Watson and Lena Mathews, they’ve already shown what kind of havoc they can wreak, destroying Army, Binghamton, Marist and Monmouth during the first two meets of the season.

Arguably, cross-country can claim to have the best chance at capturing league titles this fall, but unlike past years, every team this season can at least give realistic lip-service to championship ambitions.

Take the men’s soccer team, for example. Yeah, it lost its five top scorers from last year. By the looks of things though, that hasn’t stopped it at all. Already, it’s snagged a national ranking (no. 21 for those of you who care), opening its season with two wins. The combination of veteran striker Ted Papadopoulos and a youthful spark from sophomores Colin Nevison and Ian Pilarski, there’s no reason that the Red can’t finally get the monkey off its back and pick up a spot in the NCAAs.

Biggest turnaround should go to the women’s soccer team, which went a dismal 3-14 (1-6 Ivy) last year. While it can’t get much worse, the more likely scenario — especially with a healthy team this year — should see the Red climb to the top of the Ivies.

Field hockey was blessed with a brand new addition last weekend when head coach Michelle Tambroni gave birth to a daughter, Carissa Lynn. But instead of taking any semblance of a maternity leave, Tambroni is expected to be back on the field coaching in no time. If that doesn’t inspire her team nothing will.

Last year, only volleyball actually managed to get a whiff of Ivy League glory, reaching the conference title game against Princeton. Though it did lose all-world (and Cornell Daily Sun Senior Athlete of the Year) Robin Moore ’00, the simple fact that it’s already reached the precipice should be enough to harken it back into the thick of the Ivy title hunt. The major obstacle in its way is whether it can adapt to the sport’s national rule changes better than its league opponents.

Then there’s sprint football…maybe next year.

Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj