After suffering three straight losses to Syracuse, Brown, and Oneonta, this one had to prove the most disappointing. This Friday, the men’s soccer team (5-7-1, 2-2-1 Ivy) dropped a double overtime nailbiter to Princeton (5-6-3, 2-2-1). After going down 1-0 early on, the Red turned on the offensive pressure to drive its comeback late in the second half. Unfortunately for Cornell, its risky offensive pattern took a turn for the worst when Tigers’ forward Jeff Hare scored in the first minute of the second overtime to give his team the win.
“We took a defender off and had another attacking guy on to go for the win,” explained Cornell head coach Bryan Scales. “A tie would have done us no good in the league.”
After a scoreless first half, the Tigers came out aggressively. Sophomore Darren Spicer scored on a breakaway at 54:16 to make it 1-0. At this point, Cornell changed its strategy up to a 3-5-2 pattern to try to bolster the offense. This strategy would prove effective when freshman phenomenon Nick Leonard scored after junior Steve Reuter’s shot put Tigers goalkeeper Erik White out of position.
“Once they scored their goal, we were pretty aggressive at getting the equalizer,” explained Scales. “[In overtime] our guys really felt they were going to get a goal and skate out of there.”
Unfortunately for the Red, the offense would not garner that second score of the night. Despite both teams being fatigued entering the second overtime, the Red remained in an offensive mode. Princeton took advantage, and in the 100th minute closed out the match with Hare’s header off of a cross from freshman Kyle McHugh.
“We’ve given the guys a few days off,” said Scales. “That was a tough loss for everybody.”
After a 2-0-1 start in conference play, the Red has struggled, losing to Brown 2-0 and now to Princeton. Cornell has appeared to be a rather streaky team after losing most of its games early on, then going without a loss for five straight, and now dropping four straight. Despite this string of losses, Scales is quick to argue that things will turn around.
“We’re still playing pretty well,” said Scales. “The difference in this streak of losses is that we haven’t been able to finish off our chances.”
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini