The slick Bermuda grass of the fields at the Wofford/adidas Invitational proved unforgiving for the Cornell men’s soccer team, as momentary mistakes quickly became costly goals. The Red, now 1-4-2 on the season, went 0-1-1 on the weekend, tying Wofford, 2-2, on Friday and falling 2-1 to Furman, yesterday.
The booters opened the tournament Friday night against the now-3-2-2 hosts, Wofford. The Terriers drew first blood in the 32nd minute when Cornell failed to clear a service into its box. Seeing the cross, freshman goalie Steve Lesser charged off his line, but could only tip the ball into a cluster of players behind him. Doggedly pursuing the loose ball, Joel Kozak chased in the goal for the Terriers.
The Red responded to the challenge in the second half. Applying pressure to Wofford’s back line, freshman forward David Browning forced a turnover. Seeing his opportunity, junior Tom Marks seized the ball at midfield and with a burst of speed, split two Wofford defenders. One-on-one with the goalie, Marks beat the Terrier keeper with a rocket to the far post.
“Browning did a good job to put pressure on their last defender,” Marks said. “I just used my speed to get by the last two defenders and finish it.”
Cornell took the lead 16 minutes later in the in the 67th minute when sophomore Jarid Siegel’s cross found classmate Kyle Lynch in the box. Lynch put away the header for his first goal of the season, making the game 2-1.
“It was a great response,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “We came out of halftime and didn’t panic.”
Unfortunately for the Red, the lead slipped away in the closing minutes of the second half, as Cornell failed to clear a near-post corner kick. Wofford’s Jesus Arroyo-Peco won a race to the loose ball and slotted home the equalizer in the 86th minute.
Despite three scoring chances inside the six-yard line during overtime, Cornell was forced to settle for the tie.
“I think the guys were pretty frustrated after that game,” Scales said. “We did a tremendous amount of work to get back into the game and take the lead and then just a little lapse of concentration on a corner kick and that cost us. [We felt] that this was a game that we didn’t lose but that we should’ve gotten a ‘W’ out of.”
Cornell’s frustration continued yesterday against a high-octane Furman team, as the Red had trouble dealing with the pace the Paladins (2-3-4) brought to the game.
“They’re the best team that we’ve faced this year,” Scales said. “They play very fast. Technically, they’re very sharp and they move the ball quickly. They put a tremendous amount of pressure on us.”
The Paladins’ pressure paid off in the final four minutes of the first half, as Furman scored two quick goals before halftime.
Furman’s first goal came as Cornell turned the ball over at a dangerous point at midfield. Quickly counterattacking, Furman’s Dominic Cianciarulo played a ball on to Brian Martin, who punched in the Paladins’ first goal. Less than three minutes later, Martin was at it again, this time flicking a header past the hands of Lesser for his second goal of the game.
“They must have strung together seven-eight-nine passes in a row,” Scales said. “We just couldn’t get to the ball quick enough.”
Cornell fought its way back into the match in the second half, as senior Pape Seye brought the Red within one, scoring off of a Seigel cornerkick. However, the booters couldn’t quite find the equalizer, as the Paladins’ keeper, Bryan Amos shut down the Red in the final 32 minutes of the game.
Lesser along with Lynch and sophomore Aaron Vieira were named to the Wofford/adidas Invitational all-tournament team.
Despite not bringing home a win this weekend, the Red continued to show the progress from its previous games. Particularly the Red’s offense has shown signs of hitting its stride. Cornell has already equaled the amount of goals it scored all last season (six) and 11 players combined for the booters’ 17 shots against Wofford.
“I think we’re a different team now then we were when we first started,” Scales said. “Now it’s really just a matter of shutting teams down and limiting the amount of mistakes we make and not giving away silly goals.
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer