September 7, 2007

M. Soccer Seeks Second Tourney Title

Print More

The Appalachian State football team and the Cornell men’s fútbol team have more in common than you might think. Over the past week, both teams have had to ask themselves a question: How do you follow up a huge road victory over an extremely respected program?
Kentucky is the Red’s (2-0) Michigan, and there is no more time for soul-searching. Cornell’s team has responded by putting the past behind it and focusing on the future, especially the two games the Red will play this weekend in the Colgate Adidas Soccer Classic in Hamilton, N.Y.
“We want to win Friday’s game,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “We obviously want to go in and win our first game and do well and then see what happens after that. With such a long road to go, we’re literally just going practice-by-practice, game-by-game. That’s all you can do. We just try to climb one rung of the ladder at a time. The guys are done thinking about Kentucky, and they’ve switched on to the next cha­llenge for them, which is Albany.”
The Red will face the Great Danes on neutral territory at 5 p.m. this afternoon, followed by a noon match-up against Richmond on Sunday. Both Albany and Richmond have split records for the 2007 season, 1-1. Richmond’s loss, however, came against No. 5 Virginia on Sept. 2, 2-0.
Richmond, like Kentucky and IUPUI last week, has never played Cornell before this year. It has been eight years since the Red lost a nail-biter to instate rival Albany in overtime, 3-2.
The Red’s current incarnation has been racking up individual and team awards. Senior midfielder Brian Kuritzky — whose assist against Kentucky and hat trick against IUPUI scored him Ivy League Player of the Week honors — was named to the Soccer America National Team of the Week on Wednesday.
Senior co-captain Aaron Vieira and Ku­ritzky, as well as sophomore Matt Bouraee and junior Joe Yonga, were named to the University of Kentucky Nike Classic All-Tournament team. The team is now ranked seventh in the Northeast region in the NSCAA Coaches Poll for this week.
“I’d say there’s a very positive attitude in the locker room right now,” Vieira said. “But we’re also cautious that it’s just the start of the season, though it’s been a great start for us.”
“Us” includes every man on the field for the Red. In early season tournament play, both players and coaches are particularly conscious of the impact of the subs.
“[The bench is] a very big factor for the first few weeks of the season especially when you play Friday-Sunday games,” Scales said. “The Friday night game is not necessarily a big issue, but recovering in time to be able to play on Sunday in the afternoon when it’s hot out is always difficult. We were very happy to have everybody come off the bench [last weekend] and make a positive impact on the game.”
In the wake of a successful weekend, the team is not planning more than a couple personnel changes. Almost the same team that went to Kentucky will make the trip to Colgate. One switch will affect the action between the goal posts.
Though junior goalkeeper Steve Lesser picked up a save last weekend, he will not attend this week’s tournament due to a persistent injury, a partially torn ACL dating back to a preseason scrimmage against McGill on Aug. 22.
Freshman Scott Brody will travel in Lesser’s place to back up junior starter Luca Cerretani. Cerretani’s 402:25 shutout streak ended last Sunday with an IUPUI goal, the only one of the weekend. Nevertheless, the Red’s defense remains as stingy as ever even without mainstay senior Kyle Lynch in the backfield.
“Typically we’ve been a very solid defensive team, but we’ve been focusing on offense more and it showed last weekend,” Vieira said. “Obviously we want to get the best results possible [this weekend], but we want to keep building on the things we’ve been building on so far — strong team defense and scoring goals.”