September 8, 2006

M. Soccer Heads North

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The men’s soccer team heads to Burlington, Vt., this weekend, looking for its first win of the 2006 season at the Smith Barney Nike Soccer Classic.
Cornell will face host Vermont (1-1-2) this afternoon and New Hampshire (2-0-2) on Sunday morning. The Red has not faced either team since Oct. 1 and 2, 1994, respectively, games which the Red lost 1-0 to Vermont and 3-0 to New Hampshire.
After a disappointing start to the season — a 2-1 loss to Fairfield at last weekend’s Hartwick Tournament — the Red managed to tie Hartford, 1-1, finishing the tournament and starting its season 0-1-1.
Veteran leadership will be critical for the Red this weekend, as it has proved to be in the team’s first two games. Junior co-captain Kyle Lynch and senior Tom Marks each notched a goal in that span, together accounting for all of the Red’s goal scoring this season. Senior co-captain Dan Marks has helped lead a defense that is continually improving and was the big surprise of last year’s campaign.
Vermont’s most recent game was a 1-0 loss to No. 6 Washington on Sept. 3. However, with the Red’s offense still looking for its best form — having scored only two goals in as many games and taken only seven attempts on goal all season — Cornell will need a top-notch performance to beat the Catamounts. Vermont sported a 7-1-2 home record last season, and has a record of 21-3-11 in its own backyard since the start of the 2001 season. The team was also voted to finish No. 1 in the division by the 2006 America East preseason coaches poll.
Vermont’s lineup has been in state of flux in its first few games, with co-captain Corey Bronner, Jake McFadden, Jordan Crasilneck and Nick Mead the only players that have started all four games. Offensively, the team has struggled, scoring only four goals in its four games. But the team has been rock solid defensively, allowing only two goals in that same span and keeping a scoreless stretch of 368:44. That equates to a 0.45 goals against average — including a double-overtime scoreless tie to Cal Poly — which ties No. 23 Boston University for the 21st-best defense in the country.
The rearguard is lead by Bronner, who was recently named the defensive MVP of the Nike tournament, and goalkeeper Roger Scully, who boasts a miniscule 0.29 goals against average. Vermont is also captained by Panos Georgiadis, a tough defensive-midfielder. The trio fueled the Catamounts to the second round of the aforementioned Nike tournament, where it lost to Washington.
New Hampshire (2-0-2) — the No. 8 team in the NSCAA/adidas Northeast regional rankings — has scored six goals and allowed only three in four games, including two straight shutouts. The Wildcats tied Dartmouth, 0-0, in their last competitive action on Sept. 3, and will be leaving the confines of the Granite State for the first time this season.
The team’s offense has relied primarily on rookie sensation Chris Banks (four goals). Banks notched a hat trick in New Hampshire’s first game of the season, a 3-2 win over Cal Poly, with his performance earning him American East Rookie of the Week honors last Tuesday. Kyle Urso (one goal, two assists) leads the Wildcats in assists, while Derek Bragg (one assist) also will be a threat offensively. Pedro Braz, Adam Marcellus, Mike McKee and Matt Shump form New Hampshire’s solid back-line.[img_assist|nid=18157|title=In sight|desc=Sophomore Joe Yonga (20) chases down a loose ball last season.|link=none|align=left|width=69|height=100]