Eight yellow cards were booked during Friday’s game, but after being down 1-0 at halftime, the men’s soccer team (1-1, 0-0 Ivy) scored four unanswered goals to put St. Bonaventure (0-4-1) away. The team then dropped a close contest to Loyola (3-2) at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
“We decided at the beginning no matter what happens just to remain calm and stay confident, and just realize that we’re a better team than them,” said junior Scott Palguta of the game against the Bonnies. “Nobody got their heads down when they scored, everyone just continued to battle.”
St. Bonaventure struck first in the 36th minute, as Jahmal Cameron slipped through the defense and fired a shot from the right that hit the upper left corner of the net. The Red had some chances later in the half, but could not capitalize.
Five of the eight yellow cards came in the first half, two for the Red and three for the Bonnies. A small fight erupted as senior tri-captain Ian Pilarski and Nick Blair battled for the ball on the sideline in the 42nd minute.
“It’s important if the other team comes out very physical in a game that you have to match it, especially in individual battles. It’s always good to keep your mark on your opponent,” said junior Steve Reuter.
Palguta started the scoring for the Red early in the second half, as he was awarded a penalty kick. He buried the shot to the left of St. Bonaventure goalie Mike Krupka to tie the game at one.
“Once you get that equalizer, it’s anybody’s game now, and we realized we could shut the door,” remarked Palguta.
Reuter had several good scoring chances and finally hit the back of the net in the 66th minute. Sophomore Andrew George passed across the front of the goal from the left side to a waiting Reuter on the right, who tapped it in the open net.
In the 77th minute, Pilarski chipped a high pass from the midfield to Reuter, who beat the lone defender back and scored on the breakaway.
“Their back four was pushed so far upfield that they were leaving a lot of space behind,” commented head coach Bryan Scales. “When we were able to hold our runs and have runs come out of deep in the midfield, we were able to get on a couple of breakaways.”
With under two minutes left, the men tacked one onto the final score as junior Kyle Jones took a corner kick from the left of the goal and sent the ball toward the right post. Senior tri-captain Evan Wiener was there, making a sliding shot to tap it in.
Junior David Mahoney, starting his first game for Cornell after transferring from Brown, made six saves.
“David gives us an experienced guy back there. He’s great in the air at catching balls, he knows when to slow things down, he knows when to speed it up, and we’re glad we got him,” praised Scales.
Against Loyola, the Red found itself down two goals after the first half. In the eighth minute, Omar Alfonso sent the ball to Kevin Nash, who hit the left post, after which the ball deflected off of Mahoney to make it 1-0. Alfonso scored the Greyhounds’ second goal in the waning minutes of the first half.
“It was clear during this game that we didn’t have the energy that we had on Friday night,” said Scales. “It’s difficult to come down here and play a game in less than 48 hours after playing a game on Friday, but having said that, the guys battled back from a 2-0 deficit early in the second half.”
In the 52nd minute, Palguta got his head on a free kick from Pilarski and put it past Loyola keeper Dan Mulcahy to pull the men within one. Freshman Nick Leonard later got a header on another Pilarski free kick to notch the equalizer.
Alfonso put the Red away, however, beating Mahoney on the ground in the 75th minute.
“There was a lot of little details that we didn’t take care of today that I think were a result of fatigue,” said Scales. “They were things that we usually do pretty well and we’ll watch the tapes of today’s game and start to gear up for next weekend’s tournament at Bradley.”
Despite the loss, Scales is very optimistic after the team’s performances this weekend.
“This is a good group, and I think they’re going to be a good team, so we’re disappointed [with the loss] but they’re going to get past it,” he said.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach