September 11, 2009

M. Soccer Ready for Home Opener; But First, Griffins Look to Rebound

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Berman Field — the sight of so many tragic losses last fall — will soon see some excitement again, as the reinvigorated men’s soccer team returns for its 2009 home opener this weekend. Cornell will travel to Buffalo for tonight’s faceoff with Canisius, then the Red will host St. Bonaventure two days later at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Though Cornell (1-1-0 Ivy) dropped its season opener last Saturday, 2-1, to first year head coach Jaro Zawislan’s former team, Syracuse, it was a well-fought match that the Orange came from behind to win, and the Red rebounded with a 1-0 victory at Hartwick on Monday. St. Bonaventure (1-2-0 Atlantic 10) also dropped its season opener, falling hard at Cleveland St. last week, 3-0.
Tonight’s matchup, however, will be the first time Cornell and Canisius (0-3-0 MAAC) have ever met, and one team has struggled far more in this young season. While the Red is riding high from its first victory of the season, the Griffins haven’t been able to buy a win — getting outscored 10-0 and outshot 68-29 in three losses since their home opening loss to Drexel Sept. 1. [img_assist|nid=37967|title=New kicks|desc=Junior midfielder Scott Caldwell (26) has had a part in both of the team’s goals so far this season.|link=node|align=left|width=336|height=232]
The Bonnies, on the other hand, also notched their first victory of the year last week, with a 2-0 win over Houghton on Tuesday. St. Bonaventure can boast some depth, with four different players having scored this year: senior Sam Maheu and juniors Brett Allen, Fabrizio Savarino and Dan Mitchell. Cornell and St. Bonaventure haven’t met since Sept. 25, 2001, when the Bonnies came out on top.
All three teams have yet to play a conference foe.
St. Bonaventure’s David Flynn, like the Red’s Scott Brody, is a junior who has played every minute in goal — they have a .700 save percentage and .846 save percentage on the year, respectively. So far in the 2009 season, the Red has seen its biggest contributions from members of the junior class: Brody got the shutout at Hartwick; forward Brett Sumpio tallied Cornell’s only goal at Syracuse last weekend, and midfielder Scott Caldwell has had a hand (or a foot) in all of the Red’s success on offense — assisting on both of the Red’s goals. The Red rookies, however, have also played a role early in the season. Eight of Cornell’s youngsters have seen playing time — midfielder Eric Brown and defenders Dimitar Nentchev and Ben Kenyon, who assisted on Sumpio’s goal against Syracuse, all started in both games for the Red.