With the Red (1-10-0, 0-4-0 Ivy) in the midst of a tough Ivy League season schedule, this evening will provide a slight change in pace for the team, as it travels to University Park, Pa. to battle Big Ten opponent, Penn State (8-3-5, 1-3-1 Big Ten).
The Red most recently saw action last Saturday, when it was handed a 2-0 loss at the hands of Ivy rival Brown. While the Red was particularly strong on defense, it again failed to put the ball in the back of the net — a continuing a trend this season for an offense that has scored just five goals in 11 games. The Red has dropped its first four conference matches.
Penn State, which is coming off a huge 1-0 double-overtime win last weekend against conference rival, Michigan State, has been ranked within the top-25 nationally earlier in the season, and will prove to be a stern test for the Red.
“Penn State will be very good,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “We’re going to need to make sure we’re very good defensively and take advantage of some of our chances going forward.”
A key to finishing its chances might partially fall upon junior Andrew George, who partnered up front with sophomore Brian Scruton at Brown last weekend. Scales said that George had a good game leading the line and provided a variety of strong attributes to the Red attack.
“I thought that [George] gave us some much needed competitiveness and a physical presence we haven’t had before,” Scales said.
In light of the fact that the Red still has three more conference games, with its first coming against Princeton at Berman Field this Saturday, Scales said that he is open to mix Cornell’s game plan up a little bit and possibly experiment with placing players in different positions.
“I wouldn’t mind mixing things up and seeing new guys in the lineup to see how they do in a good game,” Scales said.
No matter who plays however, Scales also acknowledges that the Nittany Lions, which have scored 31 goals in 16 games this season, will be dangerous on the offensive side. The strike duo of senior Chad Severs and sophomore Simon Omekanda have combined for 13 goals and seven assists this year, while Scales cited junior midfielder David Walters to be especially dangerous in supporting Penn State’s attack. Walters has a goal and three assists this season.
In addition, Penn State freshman goalkeeper Conrad Taylor is currently on a tear, earning Big Ten defensive player of the week honors for the fourth time this season after collecting two shutouts last weekend.
With both teams in the midst of their conference slates, each will have little time to get ready before tonight’s matchup.
“We don’t have a lot of time to prepare,” Scales said. “Now, the games come pretty quickly and we have to make sure we’re ready.”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor