Don’t tell Peter Lynch’s advisor. Don’t even try to explain it to the pre-med who won’t loan a pencil during the orgo-final. Don’t tell the men’s soccer team, either, because they already know that for its senior defender and tri-captain, this year is about more than grades, honors theses, or diplomas.
“An Ivy ring — this year is all about an Ivy ring,” Lynch said. “If I could graduate with that I would be more happy than with any of that stuff. Maybe that’s not the right way of thinking about it but that’s definitely the truth.”
For head coach Bryan Scales, that’s exactly the type of thinking that he needs from a captain to help guide his team through a rough 1-6-0 opening to the season. Every coach, when asked to speak about a player, comes up with something positive to say — generally out of sincerity, but also with a practical concern for the dynamic and attitude of the team.
However, when asked to speak about Lynch, Scales’ eyes lit up at the chance to praise a player whose competitiveness and leadership make him the backbone of the team.
“Peter is the prototypical Cornell soccer player,” Scales said. “I grew up in Boston, idealizing Larry Bird and Peter has a lot of the same attributes that Larry Bird had. He’s got good vision, thinks quickly, can make good decisions on the field and has learned the craft of being an outstanding defender.”
Lynch, like Bird, makes the game look easy and relishes the pressures of being a captain and stepping up in big games. While not the tallest, fastest, or strongest defender in the Ivy League, Lynch outshines his peers by being a more complete player.
“I don’t have any reservations about saying he’s got to be one of the best defenders in the Ivy League,” Scales said.
Playing as a central defender in flat-four back formation, Lynch is a solid technical player especially strong in the air, winning headers. Lynch’s biggest talent, however, lies in a Ms. Cleo-like ability to predict offensive threats before they happen and stop them before they materialize.
“I’m not the most athletic guy, but I think I have a good sense of where I should be and where danger might come from during the game,” Lynch said.
Lynch’s prowess in the air also makes him — along with fellow tri-captain and defender Scott Palguta — dangerous targets for many of Cornell’s set plays in an opponents end.
“It’s the same in minute one and minute 90,” Lynch said. “Scott and I, when we get a chance to come forward, we’re just trying to get our head on the ball, knock it down, and punch one in.”
In the face of a rough 1-6-0 opening to his senior year, Lynch has remained a leader in the face of adversity, motivating the team and keeping the team focused on the Ivy League season that starts this Saturday with a home game against Penn.
“Pete’s a really good leader I think in everything he does, not just in soccer,” said senior forward Steve Reuter. “[He’s] really helped to keep a positive twist on things and keep everybody coming out and training hard and realizing that the Ivy League is still well within our grasp.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer