October 22, 2008

Lineup Changes Prove Futile as M. Soccer Falls Late to Colgate

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Ithaca wasn’t the only place in New York where the wintry mix blues descended last night, as the men’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 contest to in-state rival Colgate amid cold, rainy weather in Hamilton, N.Y.
As the Red (1-11, 0-3 Ivy) kicked off a three-game road trip, the Raiders (8-4-2, 3-1 Patriot League) continued their two-game winning streak at home against long-time rival Cornell. Thanks to the weather, the style of play in last night’s matchup corresponded to the rivalry.
“The ground is wet, so passes are sliding and going much faster,” said junior forward Matt Bouraee. “It picks up the speed of the game. … [The game] was more like a competition than a soccer game — people outhitting, slide tackling, outrunning [each other. It was more like] an athletic contest.”
About 30 minutes into the match, with several Cornell players crowded in the Colgate box and confusion resulting from the slippery conditions, the Red saw one of its best scoring opportunities pass by without results.
“[The ball] was just bouncing around in the box, which is something we should be able to put away,” said junior defender/midfielder Brian Donovan.
Donovan got a low shot off from five yards out, but both that attempt and Bouraee’s rebound were denied by the Raider defense.
“That signifies unluckiness for us,” Bouraee said, “but also the effort on our part of everyone trying to score.”[img_assist|nid=32867|title=All jumbled up|desc=Junior forward J.J. Bain (10) took one of the Red’s seven fruitless shots on the night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
In the first half, no one was successful in that regard on either side of the field, as both squads went into the intermission without a goal to their names. This was a little unusual for the Red — in each of its last three games, Cornell was down a goal at halftime, a situation that has tended to deflate the team in the second half.
“We came out pretty well,” Donovan said. “In the locker room at halftime, we were ready to go.”
“We were more positive [than usual] going into the second half, knowing we could still win the game,” Bouraee added. “The first half, we played really well, actually. In the second half, I thought Colgate was the better team.”
After an hour of even play, the home team interrupted the stalemate with a 62nd minute tally off of a free kick from 18 yards out. Colgate ran the set piece well — Matt Schuber took a low cross from teammate Chris Ross and sent a header home from the near post.
“That’s kind of been the story of the whole season,” Donovan said. “We kind of lose our marks on set pieces sometimes.”
In an attempt to shake up the lineup a little, Cornell had some new faces on the field last night. Senior Ed Chang took his place at left mid joining Donovan and freshman Jimmy Lannon at right and center mid, respectively, Chang had only played in four games before the most recent contest.
In addition, senior netminder Steve Lesser made only his second start this year after starting in the Red’s last midweek game as well, last Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Penn St. In last night’s contest, Lesser recorded nine saves.
Despite Lesser’s excellent play, the home team ensured the win in the final 10 minutes with Colgate’s second goal.
“It was a sloppy game,” Bouraee said. “The conditions were horrible — 30 degrees, cold rain, muddy. We had to deal with that and deal with Colgate on their field.”