The season came to an end for the men’s soccer team (4-8-4, 1-5-1 Ivy) in a rainy Columbia Soccer Stadium on Saturday morning with a 2-1 loss to No. 24 Columbia (10-5-1, 4-2-1). Sophomore Scott Palguta scored off of a throw-in by senior Scott Benowicz in the 75th minute for the lone Red goal in the loss.
Columbia’s Tommy McMenemy scored two first half goals to account for the Lions’ scoring. The first came at 12:43, a sliding shot off a cross from Jon Mycroft from the right flank. David Duffy also assisted on the goal. McMenemy went top shelf on a free kick at 24:34 to double the Columbia lead.
The Red fought back in the second half, putting forth a much stronger defensive and offensive effort and mounted several attacks on the Columbia goal. However, the Lions defense played up to task and limited the Red to just six shots in the game.
“In the first half, there were a lot of offensive breakdowns,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “In the second half, we were more on the ball and created better chances.”
The game marked the return of senior Doug Allan to goal in his final Cornell game. Allan, who has been out for the last several games with a broken finger, had been replaced capably by junior Nate Dunlap.
“Doug felt as though he could tolerate the pain,” said Scales. “Nate has been playing very well, but he understood that we wanted to get Doug in for his last game.”
Allan saved seven, while his Lions counterpart Dean Amaoutsakis recorded two saves.
The game was the final one of a disappointing 2002 season for the Red. Following last season’s near miss, the team entered the season with high expectations and aspirations for advancement to the College Cup. Cornell started strongly, notching a draw against powerhouse Notre Dame in the opener. After racing out to a 3-1-1 start, Cornell lost an overtime heartbreaker to Penn in its Ivy opener, which sent the team into a tailspin that it was never able to recover from.
“Obviously, we were very disappointed in the way things went,” said Scales. “We struggled scoring goals, we gave up some on the other end.”
Scales and his staff will now step back and begin to evaluate what went wrong in order to prepare for next season and hope to return to prominence.
“We’ll strip it down and slowly put it back together,” he said.
Archived article by Owen Bochner