The No. 21 men’s soccer team (8-4-3, 1-3-3 Ivy) took a huge step toward earning a berth to the NCAA tournament with a 2-0 victory over Hartwick College (11-8-0, 2-3-0 Atlantic Soccer Conference).
Berman Field played host to this key game that pitted Cornell versus Hartwick, the second and third ranked teams in the New York State region, respectively. The winner of the game would be a likely recipient of a NCAA postseason at-large berth, while the loser would be stuck on campus studying for exams.
The game remained scoreless at halftime, but then junior captain and defender Liam Hoban made a definitive case as to why Cornell is ranked ahead of Hartwick with the game-winning goal in the 70th minute. Hoban scored on a header off sophomore midfielder Ian Pilarski’s corner kick.
Less than a minute later, freshman forward Steven Reuter blasted a shot past Hartwick goalkeeper Randall Moate to make the score 2-0 from another Pilarski feed.
Reuter recounted the goal, “I took the ball 40 yards out and then fed it to Ian [Pilarski] and then volleyed in the long range return pass on a give and go.”
All of Cornell’s goals in the past three games have been either unassisted or off of Pilarski dimes.
Junior goalkeeper Doug Allan led the defense with his fifth shutout with 8 saves on 14 shots. Allan made numerous diving saves when the game’s result was still undecided.
“Doug [Allan] has been ridiculous all season. He is the best goalie I’ve ever played with,” Reuter commented.
The victory was doubly sweet for head coach Bryan Scales. Not only beating his alma mater, his squad avenged a 7-2 thrashing last season on Hartwick’s Elmore Field.
“Coach Scales was really proud of us and said that we garnered the praise from the Hartwick coach,” said Reuter.
Cornell remained strong at home, running a record of 6-1-1 on Berman Field, including a 5-0-0 record against non-conference opponents.
“We have been looking at the last couple of games of the year as a series of tournament rounds. Columbia was the quarterfinals, Hartwick was the semifinals, and Binghamton is the finals,” said Reuter about the Red’s approach to the home stretch of the schedule.
The Red will complete its last game of the regular season on Saturday when it takes on Binghamton on Berman Field. Scales will not let his troops take this game lightly with an at-large postseason bid at stake. A loss will probably end the Red’s season, while a victory could land it a spot in the 48-team field, which will be announced next Monday.
Archived article by Donald Lee