Junior Steve Reuter spent this past summer reflecting on the disappointment that was last season’s 4-8-4 record. While some people might have reflected by relaxing and hanging out with friends, Reuter went out and won a championship.
Along with teammates senior Ian Pilarski and junior Scott Palguta, Reuter played this summer in the Premier Development League with the Cape Cod Crusaders. The three Cornell players helped Cape Cod earn its second consecutive PDL title. The PDL is the top amateur league in the country, and is considered a stepping stone into Major League Soccer.
Although Reuter admits that he has dreams of going on to play professionally himself, his greater concern is the future of his teammates.
“I can see [Pilarski and Palguta] going on to play pro,” said Reuter. “They definitely have all the tools to do it. They’re both going to really help us this year.”
Now, Reuter merely has to translate his success this summer to the task at hand. His coach, Bryan Scales, thinks that he has a good chance to do just that.
When asked about how important it is to have his players hone their games over the summer, Scales responded, “It can’t be overstated. They need the play. There’s no way that you can be a Division I soccer player and not play 10 months out of the year.
“Those guys played with some of the best college players in the country and against some of the best college players in the country, and they won their second national championship,” Scales said. “That’s a pretty good feat.”
For Reuter, this summer was another step in a highly successful collegiate career. After bursting onto the scene in 2001, Reuter quickly established himself as one of the Red’s top scoring options. He scored four goals and one assist his rookie season, good for second on the team.
He also proved himself as a clutch player, scoring key goals in Cornell’s wins over Penn State, Hartwick, Columbia and Binghamton.
Cornell is coming off of a disappointing 2002 season plagued by injuries to some of their top players. Despite these losses, Reuter once again put up solid offensive numbers. His six total points trailed only sophomore Andrew George for the team lead.
Furthermore, the Algonquin, Ill. native continued to be a force on the offensive end. He was a consistent playmaker, and created many scoring opportunities, though the Red was unable to capitalize.
Reuter will again be relied upon to produce offensive chances, and he seems to have no doubts that he can do so.
“In a sense, it was good how the season went last year,” Reuter contended. “Now, we’ve experienced everything bad that could go wrong. Nothing’s going to catch us by surprise.”
His positive attitude and track record of consistent play make Reuter a prime candidate to lead this team as it attempts to rebound. He is not afraid to say that he wants to accept the weighty task.
“I want to take more of a leadership role on the team this year,” explained Reuter. “I want to try to lead by example.”
Reuter will also have the help any leader needs. The Red has a very strong freshman class, some members of which will challenge Reuter for opportunities in the offensive zone, including newcomer Nick Leonard. True to his role as team leader, though, Reuter is unconcerned about this added challenge.
“The freshmen are a bunch of really good kids and have fit in with the team,” Reuter said. “The rest of our team is really close, and the freshmen are really taking a role.”
As he takes his place as one of the men’s soccer team’s most proven contributors, Reuter will be heavily relied upon by teammates and coaches.
“We’re going to be counting on Steveâ€¦to score some goals and to set up some goals,” said Scales. “[Reuter is] an experienced guy; [he] knows the league, and knows Division I soccer.”
Sun Assistant Sports Editor Owen Bochner contributed to this story.
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini