Heartbreak is not only for country songs and Red Sox fans, a fact the men”s soccer team discovered in its season opening 2-1 double-overtime loss at Lehigh last Friday. Playing solid soccer for 106 minutes of the match, Cornell (0-1-0) gave up goals in the first and last minutes of the game.
Lehigh”s Patrick Starsinic caught the Red by surprise just 1:21 into the game when he finished off a feed from teammate Adam Williamson to put the Mountain Hawks up 1-0. ‘The first goal was a disappointment,’ said head coach Bryan Scales. ‘We couldn”t have started the season in a worse fashion. However it didn”t faze the guys once it happened.’ Cornell regrouped after the initial shock of Starsinic”s goal and adjusted to the fast counter-attacking style of play of Lehigh. The Red held the Mountain Hawks scoreless for the rest of regulation play thanks in large part to the play of Cornell”s back three defensemen and senior goalie David Mahoney, who had nine saves on the night.
‘We knew pretty much exactly how [Lehigh] was going to play on both sides of the ball,’ Scales said. ‘After that first goal, we were really able to hold down the fort for the rest of the game.’
Cornell tied the game in the 43rd minute, when senior Scott Palguta notched the equalizer off a corner kick. Sophomore Brian Scruton sent the corner kick to the back post where senior Peter Lynch beat his defender and sent a header back across the six-yard box to the waiting Palguta — who buried the shot.
The match remained tied through the end of 90 minutes and into the second overtime. With less then two minutes remaining, Lehigh was awarded a free kick near Cornell”s goal. Slipping by Cornell”s two near post defenders, the ball landed in the middle of box. Mahoney made the initial save only to have Lehigh”s John O”Reilly put away the rebound for the game-winner.
Despite the loss, Scales was pleased with the many chances the Red created and for the most part with how the team kept control of the ball.
‘We were disappointed with the result but I would say there were some very good stretches where I thought we were playing very well,’ Scales said. ‘If I can fault this group for anything, we could”ve been better getting into the final third, taking care of the ball there and getting numbers forward.’
In particular, he cited the play of junior Andrew George in the center of the midfield. ‘[George] was outstanding and he did a terrific job,’ Scales said. ‘He”s kind of our midfield destroyer where he breaks up as many plays as he can and then gets the ball up to our front guys.’
Scales also noted the play of freshman Jarid Siegel and Evan Smith in the midfield as a bright spot for the Red.
Playing its first game after shortened preseason, Scales also felt fitness became an issue as the game continued into overtime.
‘Being away from home in our first game, it would”ve been great to get out of there with at least a point, but it wasn”t to be.’ Scales said. ‘It”s disappointing but our guys are done with it and they”re getting ready for the next game.’
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer