November 7, 2008

Men’s Soccer Readies for Final Home Game

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The men’s soccer team will make its last 2008 appearance on Berman Field tomorrow, as Cornell (1-13, 0-5 Ivy) continues to search for its first Ivy League win of the year with a matchup against Dartmouth (8-5-1, 3-1-1). Many of the Red players — the 10 seniors graduating this year — will be playing in their last-ever collegiate game on Berman Field.
Tomorrow’s game is designated as Senior Day, honoring seniors Luca Cerretani, Steve Lesser, Marcelo Guindon, Jarid Siegel, Ed Chang, Dan McKallagat, David Browning, Dana Flanders, Joe Yonga and Kevin Vieira.
In this season that has been mostly filled with disappointment, head coach Bryan Scales hopes that his team can draw some motivation from the inevitably emotional Senior Day.
“It’s their last time on Berman Field so we are hoping to put a good performance together,” Scales said. “I think that there is that added motivation for the rest of the group to make sure that we put together a good performance. But not just for the seniors, I think everyone is looking for our first Ivy win. Whatever we need to get motivated to help make it happen, amen.”
This match is not only the seniors’ last game at home but also represents the second-to-last opportunity for the Red to get its first victory in the Ancient Eight this year. The Red will face a formidable foe in Dartmouth, which currently sits in third place in the conference, just two points out of the top spot.
“This is our final home Ivy league game,” Scales said. “The guys want to put together a good performance. They have a good few days of training. They know that Dartmouth is going to be a very good team. We are going to go out there and compete and see what happens.”[img_assist|nid=33379|title=Hit me with your best shot|desc=Senior midfielder Dan McKallagat (8) tries to steal the ball in the Red’s 3-0 loss to Princeton last week. Senior Day is tomorrow at Berman Field.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Dartmouth is led offensively by exceptional freshman forward Lucky Mkosana, who has registered seven goals and a total of 16 points so far this season. A native of Zimbabwe, he has had success both there and in America. Mkosana is joined by senior forward Craig Henderson, who himself has tallied five goals and 13 points for the Green. Henderson competed for the New Zealand national team in the Beijing Olympics this past summer.
The Green is backstopped by senior goalkeeper Sean Milligan, who has allowed just 13 goals in 15 games while registering five shutouts. Milligan received many accolades last year, including a first team All-Ivy selection, and seems to be in contention for additional honors this season.
“They are a team that is very organized,” Scales said. “They are athletic in a number of different positions. They have a New Zealand national team player [Henderson] and a Zimbabwe national team player [Mkosana]. They are a good group, no doubt. They are one of the top teams in our league.”
Scales recognized that pulling off the upset will be an enormous challenge for the Red, which has struggled in most aspects of the game this year. Cornell has scored just six goals in its 14 games and has allowed its opponents to tally 36 goals in that same span. Scales explains that his team has not been able to execute on either end of the field.
“It’s pretty simple that we have been giving up goals and not scoring goals,” Scales said. “It sounds like an overly simplistic answer, but that’s been it. There have been times when we have played very well with the ball, but we have leaked goals and then we are not finishing off our chances at the other end. That’s a tough combination. We have to figure out a way to stop them and take advantage of our chances.”