Tomorrow, the five seniors of the men’s soccer team will play the final game of their collegiate careers, as the Red (5-9-1, 2-3-1 Ivy) looks to spoil Columbia’s (10-4-2, 3-2-1 Ivy) postseason aspirations at 4 p.m. on Berman Field. The booters dropped another close game to No. 16 Hartwick on Wednesday, 3-1, and will try to end their six-game losing skid.
“This has been a real tough second half of the season for them, and they keep putting the emotional energy into each and every game, and to not come out on top takes a little piece out of you every time it happens,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “They want to leave a good legacy in the seniors’ last game. They’re going to compete, this group will compete.”
On Wednesday, Hartwick got on the board midway through the first half, as a questionable foul call to the left of the Cornell goal set up a free kick that Josh Herrera headed home. Junior goalie David Mahoney came up with four incredible saves in the remainder of the half to keep the Red within striking distance.
The Hawks tacked on two more scores at the start of the second half, at which point junior Peter Francis came in for Mahoney in goal. For the last 30 minutes of the contest, the Red stepped up the pressure, and finally knocked home a goal in the 80th minute. Sophomore Andrew George dribbled along the baseline to the left of the Hartwick goal, before passing to senior Evan Wiener, who collected the rebound from his own shot for his second goal of the season.
“Soccer’s always a game of ebbs and flows. Each team’s going to have a run at goal,” said Scales. “After we scored to make it 3-1, that gives you energy, that gets you going, you feel like you’re making some progress. I did think we really got some momentum.”
Columbia comes into tomorrow’s match gunning for a win to help it get an at-large bid to the NCAA College Cup. After being ranked No. 23 in the country at the beginning of the month, the Lions dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Yale two weeks ago and then tying one-win St. Francis. Columbia rebounded to beat Harvard last weekend, but its postseason hopes are riding on the outcome of tomorrow’s contest.
“They’re trying to get into the national tournament, they think they have a chance, and we’re going to try to spoil it,” said Scales.
While the booters can play the spoiler again tomorrow, they also want to finish the season, and for the seniors their careers, on a positive note. A win tomorrow would give the Red its most Ivy victories since 2000.
“Our guys have a responsibility to their teammates and to the program to come out and represent our program, and that’s what I expect to happen,” remarked Scales. “Are there going to be players that want this thing to end? Absolutely. I think we’re all on the end of our rope as this stage in the game, but we know it’s going to be a long winter, it’s going to be a long spring waiting for next year to come around, and so I think they want to go out with a bang, and they can take their foot off the pedal when this whole thing is done.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach