“We found a way to win,” said senior tri-captain Kyle Lynch.
And win it did. The Red recorded a 1-0 win at Berman field yesterday afternoon against the University of Vermont, boosting its overall record to 5-2 — including 2-0 at home — to eclipse its win total from all of last season.
The lone goal in a game of many near- goal opportunities came from freshman Brett Sumpio off of a cross from sophomore Matt Bouraee in the 77th minute of play. Sumpio has had an impressive rookie cmpaign, and his second career goal came a just the right time.
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“When Matt Bouraee got the ball he created space between him and his defender and played a perfect ball across right to me, Sumpio said. “As the ball was coming, I saw Vermont’s left back coming out to defend me off my first touch. I knew that if I could take the ball down one touch past him I would have a clear shot on goal, and their defender would either have to foul me and give up a penalty kick or give me an open shot on goal. When the ball came I took it down one touch with my chest past their defender, set up the shot, and played it past the keeper, near-post.”
The goal was met with cheers of joy and relief from teammates and fans alike, as Sumpio’s goal was one of many goal scoring opportunities that the Red had in front of Vermont’s goal — but the only one it would manage to convert.
“The fan support is awesome.” it creates a great atmosphere to play in, and for a game at 1pm on sunday, which is difficult to get up for, it really picked the team up.”
In the first half, Cornell narrowly missed a chance to get an early lead. Senior Brian Kuritzky fired a shot from a the right that the Vermont goalie could only deflect — right into an attacking Matt Bouraee who one-timed it. A Vermont defender got in the way of Bouraee’s shot and the keeper was able to control the ball and restore Vermont to safety.
“There is a lot of team chemistry, from the seniors to the freshmen, and that’s a huge part of our success,” Sumpio said. “It’s an amazing feeling to play on a team with so much passion and character. All of the players on the team work their hardest to make themselves and the team better.”
The game was a physical one. The two teams combined for nearly 50 fouls called. Cornell and Vermont fought to be in possession of the ball, but for the majority of the competition, it was back-and-forth.
“It was difficult for both teams to take control of the game, but we had the one play that won it,” Lynch said. “We definitely were much more dangerous than vermont. It took phenominal defensive efforts by Vermont to save some of our chances off of the goal line.”
Cornell worked to possess the ball in the midfield. Control in the air was pivotal in this competition and the teams battled to win head balls in the center.
“Today’s game was definitely a challenge,” Sumpio said. “Our midfield did an amazing job fighting for head balls. [Senior tri- captain] Aaron Vieira and [junior] Joe Yonga both had great games; they won balls out of the air, played great through balls and helped out in the back. Our defense was really put to the test today. Kyle Lynch also had a great game and was very good at clearing balls out of our back and organizing our defensive line.”
The teams had comparable shots on-goal ttoals, with Cornell tallying 12 and Vermont 1. The Red defense worked as a unit and made few mistakes against Vermont’s speedy forwards.
“Their forwards were very fast, but we have significant speed in the back and handled them very well,” Lynch said. “Our 1-on-1 defending was great from [senior] Kevin Vieira and [freshman] Matt Stengel. As a team, we didn’t leave many gaps for their offense to exploit, and limited them to very few opportunities on goal.”
The past two wins have proven a lot to the players on the team, Lynch added.
“Our team has showed we can win by dominating games, and also win by simply competing for 90 minutes and capitalizing on opportunities,” he said.