When the men’s soccer team (0-1-0) plays its home opener against Syracuse (0-2-0) tonight on Berman Field, it will be looking for more than just its first win of the season. While trying to erase the memory of last Friday’s heartbreaking 2-1 double-overtime loss to Lehigh, the Red will also seek to avenge its 4-0 loss Syracuse handed it last season.
“They’re going to be a very good group with some very good players,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “They’re always tough to deal with up front as far as their athleticism.”
The Orange also opened its season with a 2-1 double-overtime loss, against St. Bonaventure, and followed it with another 2-1 loss at the hands of Adelphi.
Scales expects Syracuse will challenge his team’s defense, attempting to use its speed in the front to get behind the Red’s defenders. He also expects the Orange to be well organized, a characteristic trait of Syracuse’s longtime coach Dean Foti’s teams.
“Dean has brought in some very good new guys,” Scales said. “They will be very well organized but he’s probably still tinkering with the lineup.”
In last year’s 4-0 loss, Syracuse scored three of its first four goals in the first half, while limiting the Red to just 8 shots in the game. Since 1999 the Orange are 34-7-2 when scoring two or more goals in a game. First half scoring plagued Cornell last season as the Red scored only three goals in the first half all year.
Coming off of the Lehigh loss, Scales is not worried about the play of his team so far, but feels that in these early season matches the Red are still not completely match ready.
“We can train them and run them and do as much fitness as we want with these guys,” Scales said. “But they don’t actually get match fit until they play matches, except you’d rather get fit winning than you would losing.”
Among the strong freshman recruits Cornell will have to watch for is Pete Rowley who scored the Orange’s only goal against St. Bonaventure. Junior goalkeeper Alim Karim, one of the teams three tri-captains, ranks 9th in all-time career saves for the Orange.
Cornell will count on its strong defense anchored by senior tri-captain Scott Palguta to counter the Syracuse attack. Senior David Mahoney, who had nine saves in the Lehigh game will also be called on to provide the Red with a dependable presence in the net.
Cornell leads the all-time series against the Orange 34-22-7. However, Syracuse has won four of the last five meetings. The Red’s last win against Syracuse came in 2001, a 2-1 double-overtime victory on the road.
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer