The men’s soccer team (3-5-3, 0-3-1 Ivy) returns to Berman Field to take on upstate foe Syracuse (7-7-2, 3-5-1 Big East) tonight at 7 p.m. The team has not won a game since Sept. 24, and will need to be able to find the back of the goal tonight in order to beat the Orangemen, who have defeated two ranked teams this season.
Of the upcoming game senior captain Liam Hoban said, “We just need to continue to compete, to work hard. I think we are going to catch a break one of these days, get a good goal or two and that will be it.”
“The team’s outlook is that they want to and need to win a soccer game. This is another chance for them to do it,” said head coach Bryan Scales.
He later added, “They know that as soccer players to be a pro and come out and play and win. I have no worries about the effort, the effort will be there. It’s how they deal with a little adversity. If something bad happens, can they find a way to resurrect it?”
Finishing will be key for Cornell but is something the team has been struggling with in its past few contests.
“There is nothing that I can say to them, or we can do in training that will make them finish their chances off,” Scales explained. “It’s just a matter of having that killer instinct, and that confidence and composure in and around the goal.”
Starting up front will be sophomore Scott Palguta and freshman Andrew George, who will work on finding the back of the net.
On moving Palguta up to the front line Scales said, “I think we wanted to get Scott up high because I think he needs to be around the goal to try and score some goals for us.”
Defensively the team led by Hoban, has been playing well and will need to mark tightly against a dangerous front line. Joining him in the back will be sophomore Sean Mendy, who continues to replace junior Matt Blumenstyk who is recovering from a concussion.
Blumenstyk is not out for the rest of the season, but Scales is being careful about bringing him back into the lineup.
In net junior goalkeeper Nate Dunlap will be starting, replacing senior Doug Allan. Dunlap has only played in one game, but Scales is confident in his ability.
“Nate Dunlap has been doing really well in training,” he praised. “He has been very sharp and he deserves to play, so he is going to play tomorrow.”
Challenging Dunlap will be a very strong Syracuse team despite their .500 record. The Orangemen are most dangerous up front, playing with three attackers, sophomore Jarett Park, senior Guido Cristofori, and junior Kirk Johnson.
“They are very dangerous up top, they play with three front runners who are big, strong, and athletic guys,” stated Scales. “They score a lot of goals, and they have been giving up goals as well, but they will be a real handful.”
In 16 games Park has netted seven goals and added four assists. Also a lacrosse standout, netting a goal in the NCAA finals to defeat Princeton, Park was named last year’s National Freshman of the Year by Soccer Magazine and the Big East Rookie of the Year.
This season Cristofori has four goals and five assists, while Johnson has five goals and two assists.
Defensively junior Chris Aloisi leads the Orangemen from the center back spot.
In net freshman Alim Karim has had 15 starts a .770 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average.
Always a good contest, last year’s competition went into overtime before the Red pulled out the victory. Expect both team’s to come out strong and play a physical game.