The men’s soccer team (3-3-3) will be in action tomorrow as it takes on Fairfield University (3-5-1) on Berman Field at 4 p.m. Although the two teams have not yet met, head coach Bryan Scales will find a familiar face on the sideline; he and Fairfield head coach Carl Rees played together at Hartwick College.
Old ties aside, Cornell is looking for a win. After playing to a tie at Harvard last weekend, Cornell is ready to for its first victory in four games, having tied its last two contests.
The task will not be easy, as Fairfield is a strong team, despite its record.
Scales explained, “Fairfield will be a very good team,” he explained. “They play a very good schedule. They have already lost to a few Ivy League teams by one goal, Harvard and Yale, and I expect them to be committed hard all over the field, closing guys down, winning tackles; they are going to be very tough. They are going to be a very good team.”
Fairfield won its first game in four attempts last Sunday, defeating Marist 1-0. The team’s intended game against Adelphi University on Wednesday was postponed. Back on the field, the team will be looking to improve its losing record.
At the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Coach Scales believes the Stags, along with Loyola College — another MAAC team — will be in consideration for the national tournament, because either team could receive an automatic bid from their league.
Scales stated, “They have a couple of guys that can score goals, and they’re not giving up a lot of goals.”
One of the strongest team members is sophomore Bryan Harkin.
“He’s a very good player, explained Scales. “He’s good on the ball, he’s tricky with the ball and he’s committed defensively.”
Up-front firepower may come from sophomore David Thomas, who has two goals and one assist in six games played, and graduate student Richard Morton, who also has two goals and one assist in eight games played.
In net for Fairfield is a freshman goalkeeper, Steve Burns. Burns should be confident in net after being named MAAC Rookie of the Week following his first collegiate shutout last week.
Offensively Cornell will be looking to test Burns, with the charge being led by junior Ian Pilarski. Pilarski has been a strong force in the midfield accompanied by sophomore forward Steve Reuter. The two have combined for 45 shots in nine games.
Defensively the team has been solid, spearheaded by senior goalkeeper Doug Allan. Allan has recorded a .806 save percentage on the season.
“We’re going to try and build on the two performances we’ve had over the last couple of games,” explained Scales. “We’ve been pretty solid defensively, we’ve done a good job putting away some goals against Harvard and deserved to win the game. Now it’s just a matter of doing those same things when the game starts on Saturday.”
Half way through the season, the team understands that it needs a win this weekend.
Of the upcoming game senior captain Liam Hoban explained, “It’s important. We might be out of the running for the league, but our non-league games become that much more important. [This weekend] we need to make a performance and hopefully get a result that will help our chances.”
Scales also noted the importance of the remaining contests. He said, “With eight games left in the season, the pressure now is starting to mount now for this group, so they know they have to make a run for it.”
He later added, “These are the playoffs for us, so that’s how we’re going at it.”
Archived article by Kristen Haunss