November 9, 2007

Men's Soccer Hosts Columbia

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The Columbia Lions — the squad currently occupying the basement of the Ancient Eight standings — will do battle with the Red for the seventh spot when the teams face off tomorrow. Cornell needs a win to avoid last place, but also to strive for a .500 overall record this season — something that has not happened in some time.
“At this point in the season, it’s all about playing well,” said junior Miyad Movassaghi. “The win definitely gives us more confidence going into Saturday’s game. If we play like we did against Hartwick, and work as a team, it will be a good game.”
With the recent win over the Hartwick Hawks, the Red has gained momentum that the Lions may lack. Columbia’s last Ivy match against Harvard did not end well for the Lions; Harvard triumphed handily with a final score of 5-1. The match was one sided, as Harvard held Columbia scoreless for 85 out of 90 minutes. The first goal scored against Columbia was an own goal — making the loss even more poignant.
Last year when the Red traveled to New York to face Columbia, the game ended inconclusively. Even after 110 minutes of play, neither team could score a goal. Unlike this season, the contest between the Red and the Lions represented the first in conference game for both squads. This year, however, both teams have more to lose and are nearing the end of the Ivy League. After this match, the Lions will have to battle the unstoppable Brown Bears. The Bears boast an untarnished Ivy season and only one loss in non- conference play.
The closest that the Red has come to an Ivy League win this season was against Yale; the game ended in a 1-1 tie. The Lions had a tougher time against the Bulldogs. Though Columbia tallied the first goal of the game, Yale responded in full force with four goals.
The Cornell players, like usual, are looking toward the Columbia match with the same attitude, but with a slightly adjusted goal: a .500 overall season record. With the recent win over Hartwick, the Red is at .433 percentage.
“As a team, we really want to get to a .500,” Movassaghi said. “That’s our goal for the remainder of this season. We haven’t gotten to that record in a while and that would be a great way to finish up the year.”
Despite seemingly solid performances recently on behalf of the Red, the team has not been coming out on top after battling some of the top foes in the nation — conference and non-conference. In the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), three Ivy League teams are named: Brown (fifth), Harvard (15th) and recently added Dartmouth (25th). The only teams in front of Brown — University of Connecticut, Wake Forest University, Santa Clara University and Virginia Tech — are some of the big names in soccer and further prove the potency of the Ivy teams this year, even in the national arena.
“Right now we’re working on getting our team where we need to be in order to accomplish our goals, especially with regard to achieving the .500,” Movassaghi said. “For the sake of both this year and the next, we want to end the season right.”