August 26, 2003

M. Soccer Players Win PDL Championship

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They say good things come in threes.

For the Premier Development League’s (PDL) Cape Cod Crusaders, those good things happen to be three students from Cornell.

Senior Ian Pilarski and juniors Scott Palguta and Steve Reuter helped the Crusaders to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire Reserves in the PDL’s championship match earlier this month. Besides being the second consecutive championship for the club, it was also the second for Pilarski and Palguta.

“It capped off another amazing summer,” said Palguta. “Ian and I were there last summer, so to come back and do it all again was pretty sweet.”

For Reuter, the accomplishment is all due to the group’s focus.

“The whole team pulled together,” he said. “We all got a lot better — got more confident.”

But the transformation wasn’t an instant process. It began for the trio in a house on Cape Cod. There, along with more than two dozen collegiate and amateur athletes from across the country, Pilarski, Palguta, and Reuter trained for three months.

The group’s time together extended far beyond its weekday practices. By living together, the team was able to create a tight bond, even amongst those from rival schools such as Dartmouth, Harvard and Boston College.

“It’s kind of interesting because during the year they’re your enemies,” said Palguta of his summer teammates. “It’ll probably make [the regular season] even more competitive, but it’ll also be a lot more fun.”

Living together also created another bond — one to be shared by Pilarski, Palguta, and Reuter as teammates at Cornell.

“It was always good to look around and see a kid you’ve been playing with for a couple of years,” said Reuter. “Now, going back to Cornell after having played together with them all summer, we’ll continue to try to work together and bring back what we know to the team.

“I learned a lot about not taking mental breaks. We need to do that as a team this year, and it already looks like we’re doing it through our pre-season practices.”

But the most anxious person to gain from the trio’s experience won’t be in cleats or a uniform. Instead, head coach Brian Scales will be where he’s always been for this group, at the end of the bench.

“I think you have a day-in-day-out training by playing with some of the best college kids in the country,” said Scales. “Then to measure themselves against some of the top teams — professional teams — it’s the highest level you can play at without getting paid.

“It’s a heck of an accomplishment,” he added.

Archived article by Matt Janiga