November 5, 2007

M. Soccer Give Up Early Goal En Route to Loss

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When the men’s soccer team traveled to Hanover, N.H., to face No. 23 Dartmouth Saturday night, the Red hoped to see some sort of spark to ignite the team to its first Ivy win. Instead, Dartmouth (10-3-2, 4-0-1 Ivy) got the good fortune, as the Red (4-8-1, 0-4-1) surrendered a goal just 47 seconds into the game on the way to a 3-1 loss on the road.
“It sounds like the same story, different day,” said senior Brian Kuritzky. “We just came out slow. We can’t give up soft goals in the first five minutes of the half. That’s not on one person. It’s on the whole team.”
In this weekend’s match, the Green’s Nick Christman hooked a shot from 18 yards out past junior Cornell goalie Luca Cerretani. Kuritzky and senior co-captain Aaron Vieira agreed that Christman’s attempt was a shot in the dark.
“It was a volley hit from distance,” Vieira said. “It was just hit perfectly well. You don’t see those too often.”
“It was surprising,” Kuritzky said. “He just hit a shot from well outside the box, and I think [junior] Luca [Cerretani] saw it late. It was just shocking. I think the [Dartmouth] kid was more surprised than anyone else.”
After the weekend’s match, the Red has now surrendered a goal within the first ten minutes in three of its last four matches, coinciding with a four-game losing streak.
“The first ten minutes of each half are the most important of any game,” Vieira said. “Mentally we felt like we were there, but obviously it wasn’t enough. Giving up an early goal changes the whole complexion of the game. You have to attack more.”
After the early goal, however, Cornell turned the negative into a positive by controlling the action. Though Dartmouth’s Bryan Giudicelli made it 2-0 in the 25th minute with a header off a corner kick from Christman, the Red was slowly building momentum for a comeback.
About ten minutes later, senior Brian Kuritzky got his sixth goal of the season to make it 2-1, tying with sophomore Matt Bouraee for highest tally on the team. Kuritzky’s shot from the right hit the top left corner past Dartmouth goalie Sean Milligan, but the goal-scorer complemented classmate Sean Mooney for setting up the play.
“Sean Mooney played a great ball across,” he said. “He put some spin on it, so it curved over the [Dartmouth] guy’s head, and it landed nicely towards me.”
The score stood as was going into halftime, and Kuritzky’s goal set up the Red for a run in the second half. This was not to be the case, however, as Dartmouth’s Dani Rothenberg got an insurance goal for the Green in the 54th minute.
“[Our offense got going] especially in the first half,” Vieira said. “Brian scored a great goal, and we were definitely pushing. But Dartmouth’s a very good defensive team in that they’ve only given up eight goals all season, and the third goal [was really rough because] it would be difficult to score three goals or four [on Dartmouth] to get the win … That third goal was disheartening when we definitely thought we were going to make a comeback.”
The Green outshot the Red, 18-6, and Cornell only managed one shot on goal in the second half.
“We just have to put together good soccer for a full 90 minutes,” Kuritzky said. “It’s not good enough to do it for an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. It’s kind of the same story after every single game. But for the next three games, we’re not going to contend for the title, but we can try to change where the program is coming from. We’re definitely not going to throw in the towel. We’re going to try and win those games and do some things the program hasn’t seen before.”