As has been the case many times during the past couple of seasons, the men’s soccer team lost a hard fought battle against an Ivy League rival this weekend. Despite playing well, the team fell to Brown on Saturday, 2-1, in overtime.
Senior midfielder Kuda Wekwete scored the lone goal for the Red, his team leading fifth goal and 10th point of the season. With the loss, Cornell’s record drops to 3-8-2 overall and 2-2 in the Ivy League, while the win improves Brown’s record to 9-3-1 overall, and 4-0-0 in conference play.
“I thought that both teams played well, and that we showed that there really isn’t that much difference between our two teams,” said Cornell head coach Bryan Scales. “We had chances to win the game that we just didn’t finish off on, but I’m proud of our guys. It was a tough loss but these guys have done really well this year as far as playing together and competing in every game, so it felt like a bit of bad luck not to win on Saturday.”
Both sides understood the importance of this game, and showed it as the teams came out aggressive on the opening whistle. However, in the 11th minute of the first half, Brown sophomore Kevin Davies took control of a through pass from freshman teammate Scott Geppert and put a shot in from eight yards out to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.
The Red’s best scoring chance of the first half came in the 32nd minute, off of freshman forward Dana Flanders’ foot. After finding enough room to get a good look at the goal, Flanders wound up and watched his shot knock off the crossbar, safeguarding Brown’s one score lead.
The score stayed 1-0 for the remainder of the first half. However, Cornell’s inability to score did not demoralize the team’s offensive unit. Working to get the Red back into the game, Wekwete took control of a Brown turnover and put in a shot from about 20 yards out, slipping the ball past Brown goalie Jarrett Leech to tie the game up at one goal a piece. The goal was scored only 12 seconds into the second half.
“Brown had the kickoff and played the ball backwards,” Scales said. “We pressed them right away and made them make a mistake, and Kuda picked it off and went in and was able to slot it in the right hand corner. It was a dream start for us because going into halftime we new we were right in the game, so to get a goal so early was a big confidence boost.”
From there, the game was a battle. Both teams had chances to score the tie-breaking goal, but none of them came to fruition. The game appeared to be the Bears’ when Ben Brackett put a header on net – however, the Red was given new life when the shot ricocheted off the crossbar, preserving the tie.
The overtime period began with Cornell in control. The team’s best chance came when Flanders took a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.
“Dana missed on a couple of chances, but that’s just the way this game went,” Scales said. “He’s going to be a good player for us. We all know he’ll pull himself back up, and are all really confident in his abilities.”
Shortly after, Brown took full advantage of a corner kick, when junior Matt Britner connected on a shot 5:35 into the extra frame, to give the Bears the 2-1 overtime win. Although the Red lost, it was not totally discouraged by what it saw on the field.
“We’ve made a lot of progress so far, and the next three Ivy League games are going to be real big for us,” Scales said. “It comes down to a little bit of luck, getting the bounce here and there, but also hard work on the training ground. And our whole group works extremely hard to make themselves better each and every day, so I’m confident in every game we go into.”
Archived article by Ben Kopelman
Sun Staff Writer