In the battle of I-81, Syracuse got the better of its upstate rival, beating the Cornell men’s soccer team 2-0 last night. The Red dropped to 0-2-0 in its young season, while the Orange remained unbeaten, improving to 3-0-0.
With none of the jitters that marked its opening match against Lehigh, Cornell came out flying in the first half. Leading the charge for the Red were freshman forward David Browning and senior midfielder Jorge Rodriguez. Browning just missed an opportunity to give the Red the lead in the first half when his diving header slid just inches wide of the Syracuse net.
“The game for the first 20 minutes, I thought, was some of our sharpest soccer that we’ve played, not just this year, but including last year,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “The passing was good. The team defense was very good. We had a couple of good opportunities to score that we just couldn’t get on the ends of.”
Syracuse weathered the Red offensive attack with the help of freshman goalkeeper Robert Cavicchia, who with eight saves on the night notched his third consecutive shutout. Cornell’s own freshman keeper, Steve Lesser, was equally solid, tallying six saves of his own.
In the 17th minute Cavicchia helped himself out, sending a restart deep into Cornell’s half. Two Red defenders both challenged for the ball, leaving Syracuse forward Spencer Schomaker unmarked. The ball was flicked past the Cornell defense to Schomaker, who took it on one hop and sent a bending volley from 25 yards out, just over the head of Lesser.
“The first goal was just one of our mistakes – a miscommunication,” said assistant coach Chip Warner. “It’s definitely something to be fixed, but overall in the game I thought we played very well.”
Unfazed by the goal, the Red continued to play high caliber soccer. Cornell’s best chance to even the score came in the second half off of a corner kick when sophomore Kyle Lynch’s header sailed just wide of the net.
Syracuse added an insurance goal in the 54th minute when a corner kick was flicked onto the back post, finding an unmarked Pete Rowley, who easily converted the goal.
“We are still a group that doesn’t have a lot of experience in the back,” Scales said. “I think it’s difficult for young players when you start playing Division I soccer – especially in the crucial positions up the middle of the field – to take care of all of the details that you need to take care of to win a game. It just takes time for them and they learn.”
Despite the outcome, both coaches were pleased with the progress shown by their young team since its season opener against Lehigh.
“If you compare the two games it was like night and day,” Warner said. “We’re knocking the ball around and we’re starting to play better and better each game, each practice. We’re a young team, but we’re going get our chances.”
Scales was similarly optimistic about the teams performance.
“Things will go our way at some point,” he said. “Right now we just have to get a couple of goals and get a W under our belt.”
Cornell’s next chance will come this Saturday at Berman Field as the Red host another upstate rival, Colgate.
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer