September 22, 2008

M. Soccer Downs Lafayette for First Win

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After five losses in a row to start the season, the men’s soccer team finally got in the win column with a victory yesterday over Lafayette. The Red made the most of its trip to Easton, Penn., beating Lafayette by a score of 2-1 and putting an end to its losing streak.
Senior co-captain Joe Yonga explained that his team finally played as a cohesive unit and started firing on all cylinders with a new attacking attitude.
“I think today one of the main differences was that all the guys were working hard for each other for 90 minutes,” Yonga said. “There was an aggression and a mentality that we had been lacking in the previous five games.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Scott Brody explained that his squad got an all-around effort from every position on the field.
“I think we certainly played harder as a unit, everybody gave everything that they could and just went all out today,” Brody said. “I think that really made the difference. We got some great play from the back four, and we were able to put some balls in the net.”[img_assist|nid=31972|title=Charge!|desc=Junior attacker J.J. Bain (10) pushes the ball downfield last Wednesday during the Red’s 4-0 loss to Albany. Cornell registered its first win this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Red opened up the scoring just 10 minutes into the game when junior forward Matt Bouraee was able to find an open lane after a Lafayette defender slipped and fell. Bouraee made no mistake and ripped a shot past Leopard sophomore goalie Andrew Pianko.
After scoring just one goal in their first five games, the Red players were happy to strike first in this match and gain some momentum. Brody explained that by scoring an early go-ahead goal, Cornell was able to stick to its gameplan throughout the match.
“Whenever we have the opportunity to gain the lead then we can play our style of play instead of having other teams play their style,” Brody said. “We were able to have control of the game and [Lafayette] had to deal with our style of play.”
However, in the 23rd minute, the referees called a foul on Brody, granting the Leopards a penalty shot. Lafayette senior midfielder Steve Ference took the penalty shot for his team, and fired a hard strike on goal. Brody was up to the challenge, making a diving stop to keep his squad up, 1-0.
“The penalty shot was my fault, so I felt obligated to save it,” Brody admitted.
After continuing to mount pressure, the Lafayette attack finally evened up the match in the 39th minute, as freshman forward Wayne Maminski received a crossing pass from senior Mike Celentano. Maminski notched his second goal of the year as he took the pass and netted it passed a sprawling Brody, tying the game at 1.
The game seemed primed to head into the intermission tied at 1, but with less than three minutes remaining in the half the Red offense struck again. Cornell junior Matt Devitt tried to put a ball on net, but his strike was deflected. Yonga was able to find the misdirected ball and put it home to provide his team with a 2-1 lead heading into the half.
“Going back up 2-1 was important to us because we would have been happy with the tie, but having the lead gave us much more of a sense of confidence going into the locker room,” Yonga explained.
Lafayette controlled the play for most of the game and led the Red in almost all statistical categories. Particularly, the Leopards outshot the Red by the wide margin of 16-7.
With under six minutes left and the score still at 2-1, the Leopards came very close to tying the game back up as forward B.J. Glenn had two opportunities on goal, forcing Brody to make one save and sending another shot wide of the net. Lafayette had multiple chances to tie up the game throughout the second half, but was unable to put one past Brody, as the game came to a close with a 2-1 Cornell advantage.
Despite launching 16 shots, Lafayette managed to put just five shots on net, as Brody made four saves for the victory. Conversely, the Red fired just seven shots, but was on target with each of those strikes.
The Red players believe this win takes a lot of pressure of their team. Yonga noted that the losing streak had taken a significant toll on the attitude of his team.
“I think we wanted to get this one behind us and get a win under our belts and continue improving on the season,” Yonga said. “I think that later in the season we [went] without wins, the more pressure [would build] up on us, so it was nice to get [first win] one out of the way.”
The Red hopes that with the first win in the books, it will be able to use that momentum to turn around its season.
“It changes the whole outlook of the way players are coming into the game and looking at things,” Brody explained. “I think everybody will be a lot more relaxed and we will be able to play our game better. Everybody will be more confident in what they are doing and I think that will be a large factor in the upcoming games.”