Tuesday practices don’t officially begin until 3:30, but after last Saturday’s frustrating 3-0 loss to Colgate, the men’s soccer team couldn’t wait to get back on the field. By the time head coach Bryan Scales and his assistant coach Nate Fuller arrived to begin yesterday’s practice, the Red had already been warming up for some time. With a clap of Scales’ hands the players converged at midfield, eager to begin their last practice before tonight’s contest on the road against Fairfield.
“To be honest, I don’t care who we play against right now,” said Scales. “We just need another game.”
The Red is 0-3-0 after their first week of play and suffered two heartbreaking 2-1 losses before last weekends defeat at Colgate. Among the players at practice yesterday there was a sense of impatience for Cornell’s next opportunity to notch its first win.
“We’re only a week into our season,” Scales said. “It’s not like we’re going to hit the panic button, but we’re also aggressively looking to get our first win.”
As Scales and Fuller made the rounds in the few minutes before practice, they talked bits of strategy and checked on the status of several injured players. Injuries have been one of the major issues hampering the Red early this season. Already Scales has had practices where five of the 11 starters have had to sit out.
“You never go through a full season unscathed,” Scales said. “Hopefully this is just our stretch that we have to get through.”
Among the most concerning injuries for Cornell, has been to starting goalkeeper and tri-captain, senior David Mahoney. Mahoney re-injured an ailing shoulder in the Red’s second game against Syracuse and was forced to sit out Saturday’s game against Colgate.
“He may or may not [play],” Scales said. “It’s going to be a game-time decision.”
A game-time decision made tougher by the strength of Fairfield’s team. Picked among the favorites to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Stags have played their first two games against Ivy League opponents, tying both Dartmouth and Columbia 1-1. Cornell will have to contend with goalkeeper Andrew Frankel and defender Alex Cunliffe who are among five Stags named to the All-MAAC preseason team.
Scales, who played for Hartwick on the same team with the Stags coach Carl Rees, expects the Fairfield side to be very tough physically and athletically and to be very well organized.
“The number one concern for the guys right now is just putting together a full 90-minute performance,” Scales said. “At some point the good players have to step up in the big moments of the game and finish off chances and make big plays. We’re going to count on our veterans and experienced guys to really help push us along.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer