Thirty seconds into the second half of Saturday’s game, the men’s soccer team found itself in a precarious situation, as freshman Tom Marks was booked for his second yellow card of the game. Undermanned for more than 20 minutes, the Red (2-3-0) persevered, and bested American (3-4-1), 1-0.
“The guys put in a terrific performance, they had the cards stacked against them,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “They’re excited to get a win on the road against a very good team. American is a terrific team and it was definitely a confidence boost for [us].”
The physical contest was marked with 26 fouls and seven yellow cards, with the Red booked for five. American outshot the Red 12-5 in the first half, but neither team converted.
Playing a man down early in the second half, the Red responded to the challenge.
“[After Marks went out] they didn’t panic, they know what to do. It didn’t ruffle anybody, they really stepped it up defensively, they put together a real solid performance,” remarked Scales.
Junior Steve Reuter, who was injured last weekend against Coastal Carolina, came off the bench and drew a penalty in the box seven minutes into the second half. Junior Scott Palguta took the ensuing penalty kick for the Red. The shot went low left, and American goalie Thomas Myers blocked it, but Palguta came in quickly and knocked home the rebound.
“It felt great to get the gamewinning goal in such an important game. I think I scared everyone and myself by having the initial penalty saved, but I was fortunate to get to the rebound and finish the second chance,” said Palguta. “It wasn’t a work of art, but a goal is a goal, and we’ll take them any way we can get them.”
The Red withstood the Eagles’ onslaught, as Cornell’s back four put up its best performance of the season, facing 11 shots and five corners in the second. In the 72nd minute, the booters caught a break when American’s Andrew Herman got booked for his second yellow card of the game. With 10 aside for the rest of the game, the Red held on for the win, snapping its three-game losing streak.
“I thought our back four were spectacular. We knew once we went down a man that we were going to give them some scoring opportunities, but the defense did great in only allowing them difficult chances and keeping their forwards’ backs to goal,” remarked Palguta.
Junior David Mahoney recorded his first shutout at Cornell, making 11 saves.
“Mahoney was outstanding, I can’t say he was really tested. I think they had 23 shots but most of those shots aside from maybe one or two were about 20 to 25 yards out. David gobbled up all the shots that came his way,” said Scales.
After playing four straight games on the road, the booters return to Berman Field for a nightcap against upstate rival Colgate tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Red will face Penn in its Ivy opener on Saturday in Philadelphia.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach