Most people remember their high school prom and graduation. Junior Scott Palguta of the men’s soccer team doesn’t. Actually, he didn’t even attend his prom and graduation. He was in Europe, playing against some of the best European youth teams.
“I don’t regret it one bit, it was a great opportunity. We got to go to Europe and play some of the best youth club teams in the world. It was a tremendous experience,” said Palguta.
After playing back last season, Palguta has been moved up to midfield, where he will have a bigger hand in the offense. This move has already paid off, as he has netted two goals in the first two games of the season.
With the Red down 1-0 in the season opener last Friday, Palguta nailed a penalty shot, which was the first of four unanswered goals. In Sunday’s game against Loyola, he headed a free kick from senior Ian Pilarski past the Greyhound keeper.
“In the midfield, you need to have a little nastiness in you, and he’s developed a little nasty streak, and that’s exciting for our team. He’s going to really help us in the midfield,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “I know he’s excited to play in there and get forward, cause he likes to get forward and score goals”
Playing back as a freshmen, Palguta helped anchor a defense that only allowed 15 goals all season. He also made big plays on offense, as he scored the game-winning goal against Syracuse after being moved up to forward in double overtime.
“In my Cornell career, that was my most special moment so far,” said Palguta.
For the past two summers, Palguta has played for the Cape Cod Crusaders of the Premier Development League, helping them win back-to-back national titles. He played the most minutes on the team, and recorded a goal and two assists. In the Eastern Conference Final against division rival Vermont Voltage, Palguta netted the equalizer, and the Crusaders rolled to a 4-2 victory to advance to the finals.
If you come to any game at Berman Field, two people you’ll always see are Palguta’s parents.
“They really didn’t miss a game all summer. They traveled to Cape Cod seven or eight times and to Vermont on several occasions, and haven’t missed a game yet at Cornell,” said Palguta. “It’s always great to show up at a field and no matter where I am to be able to look up and see my parents there supporting me.”
Playing for the Crusaders during the summer also gave Palguta the opportunity to work with kids on the Cape at soccer camps run by the team.
“We always had, week in and week out, tons and tons of little kids that came [to our games],” remarked Palguta.
This season, Palguta is ready to help the team turn heads in the Ivy League.
“He’s one of the top players in our league, I think, and he’s just got to prove it,” said Scales.
Palguta’s skills on the pitch could lead him to the pros after his time on the East Hill is done, but right now his focus is on this season alone.
“[Playing pro] is definitely something that’s in the back of my mind. I’d love to do it, I’ve always dreamed of doing it, but I can’t really be consumed with that type of stuff right now,” said Palguta. “The only thing I’m focusing on right now is to do what I need to do to help this team win a championship.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach