The men’s soccer team (3-1-1) will attempt to increase its winning streak to four Saturday night as it takes on Ivy League foe Penn (4-1). Looking for redemption from last year’s loss, the match up plans to be a battle.
Building on each success, the Red continues to look better each game, with the players forming smoother connections and having a better sense of where their teammates are on the field.
“I think they have progressed very well,” explained head coach Bryan Scales. “They have won three in a row right now and they have been put in different situations in each game and they have still managed to win these games. They are learning while they are winning, which is a good combination.”
In the backfield, senior Doug Allan has been spectacular, recording a .833 save percentage in four starts prior to Tuesday’s matchup at Colgate. After sustaining an injury to his face in the second half of that game, he was forced to leave. Junior Nate Dunlap came in to play the final 30 minutes. Scales, however, believes Allan will be back in the lineup.
Scales said, “Unless I hear otherwise from Doug, he is going to start.”
The Quakers are fresh off a 1-0 win over Temple. A member of the Philadelphia Soccer 7, the team is the reigning champions, and is also the only undefeated team in the PS7, with two conference games remaining.
“Penn is a very good team, the top in their region,” explained Scales. “They’re a very dangerous team, and beat us last year. Our guys are expecting to come out and do a good job on the ball and putting pressure on the ball when we don’t have it.”
Leading the Quaker midfield are sophomore Brent Plumley and classmate Stephen Kroculick, who Scales cites as Penn’s playmaker.
Between the two underclassmen, they have tallied three of Penn’s eight goals this season.
In net, junior Matthew Haefner has been a wall, making it very difficult for opposing attackers to find the back of the net. In five starts he has earned a save percentage of .889.
Of Penn, Scales explained, “They have experienced guys at a lot of different positions. We just have to be ready for everything they throw at us.”
Being ready is something Scales believes his team most certainly is.
“They are more than ready to play. They know it’s alumni weekend, and they are just really excited to get going.”
The team will be honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1977 Ivy League championship team as part of the alumni weekend celebration. The ’77 team was the seventh year in a row that Cornell won the Ivy League title.
The members of the ’77 team will be honored at halftime. Other planned events include an alumni game on Saturday, as well as a pregame barbecue at the field and a postgame party.
Overall Scales stated, “This is a big weekend for all of Cornell athletics. The guys are excited to play and know there will be a big crowd. They are excited to not only represent Cornell soccer, but to represent Cornell athletics in general.”
The game kicks off at Berman Field at 7 p.m.
Archived article by Kristen Haunss