November 15, 2004

Men's Soccer Loses

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In its final contest of the season, the men’s soccer team (1-14-1, 0-6-1 Ivy) dropped a 3-1 decision to Columbia (4-10-3, 2-4-1 Ivy) in New York City on Saturday.

While the Red dominated play for the majority of the game, it was unable to capitalize on its scoring opportunities, as Columbia scored twice against the run of play late in the second half.

“It was a strange game in that we again went down by a goal and then came back and scored the equalizer before halftime. I felt for the first 70 to 75 minutes of the game, we were really on top of them,” said head coach Bryan Scales.

The game was almost canceled due to an unplayable pitch, but after a 30 minute delay, both teams went onto the field and had early opportunities to draw first blood.

In the second minute, after a cross by junior Einar Benediktsson was flicked on by midfielder Mark Dyrszka, forward Thorsteinn Gestsson had a shot from 10 yards, which went over the bar. Eleven minutes later, Red sophomore Brian Scruton was in on goal, but his shot was saved by Columbia goalkeeper Dean Arnaoutakis.

With both teams working through the poor field conditions, the Lions were able to take the lead in the 22nd minute. After Columbia won a free kick right outside the box, Gestsson stepped up and hit a curling shot past Red goalkeeper David Mahoney and into the top left corner to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.

Cornell, which outshot Columbia, 17-11, had the brunt of the chances throughout the game including a first-time shot by senior midfielder Sean Mendy with 15 minutes left in the half, which was saved by Arnaoutakis.

But the Red’s persistence paid off in the 36th minute. After two Red attempts on goal were blocked by Arnaoutakis, he was unable to stop a third, as freshman midfielder Evan Smith put the ball in the back of the net from close range, giving him his first career Cornell goal.

In the second half, the Red continued to apply pressure and had chances on headers from Smith and senior defender Scott Palguta. But, in the 79th minute, Columbia earned the go-ahead goal.

After senior Stephen Foster passed back to Benediktsson, the midfielder found an on-rushing John Mulhern, who found space behind the Red defense and drove a shot past Mahoney to give Columbia a 2-1 lead. The Lions sealed the game less then a minute later, when Mulhern delivered a ball from a free kick which found the head of Tom Davidson, who made no mistake, giving Columbia its third goal of the game. Columbia almost went up by three, but freshman David Druckman’s shot went off the post.

Although Scales was pleased with the performances of Mendy, senior Peter Lynch and junior Pape Seye among others, he said the failure to convert scoring chances cost Cornell the win.

“We had some pretty good opportunities in front of the goal that we weren’t able to finish off, which has kind of been [in] the nature of our season this year,” Scales said.

Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor