After successfully facing the likes of Penn, Harvard, and Yale in the past three weeks, the Red (5-3-1, 2-0-1 Ivy) will face its first non-conference opponent in a while when it faces the Syracuse Orangemen (2-7-5, 0-4-4 Big East) today in Syracuse. Cornell is 4-0-1 in its last five games. In contrast, the Orangemen have not won since Sept. 17.
However, Cornell will not be able to sit back and take it easy in its match today. As regional rivals, both these teams have seen each other before and should be well prepared.
“Syracuse is a very dangerous team,” explained Cornell head coach Bryan Scales. “We know them very well, and they know us very well.”
As usual, Cornell is not ready to look past Syracuse to its arguably more important conference match-up against Brown later this week. Cornell has had great success in learning and focusing on one team at a time.
“The guys understand that they had a good win last Saturday,” said Scales, “but they know the next test for them is Syracuse. This is the game that’s on our plate next.”
As usual, Cornell will heavily rely on its strong defensive backbone to win the day against the Orangemen. The Red has four shutouts in its last five games. This is quite a change from the team that gave up nine goals in its first four games of the season.
“Defending is something we do well collectively,” explained Scales. “The back four do it really well individually [also]. They’re playing well right now.”
However, much of this defensive brilliance on paper can be attributed to the outstanding play of junior goaltender David Mahoney, who only transferred to Cornell this year from Brown. Despite some confusion during the preseason as to who would be the Red’s starter, Mahoney established himself early as one of the key players on the team.
“Mahoney’s been very good,” said Scales when asked about his starting goalie. “He’s made some saves that have kept us in each of the games we’ve won or tied over the last five games. He’s very sharp, and he’s very confident.”
Regardless, the Red certainly cannot disregard the talent on the Syracuse squad. The Orangemen have several players that the Red will have to mark. Players like midfielders Frank Bruno and Ilias Calaitzidis, who both have three goals this season, can be threats on both sides of the field.
“They’ve got some very good players,” said Scales. “We need to go into [this game] aggressively.”
The Red hits the field tonight in Syracuse at 7:00 p.m. Cornell will be back home this Saturday for its Homecoming match against Brown at 7:00 p.m.
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini