September 2, 2010

Men’s Soccer Opens Season at Long Island University

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According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word “competitive” means: having or displaying a strong desire to be more successful than others. In the opinion of junior forward Franck Onambele, however, it is the description of the men’s soccer team’s upcoming season.

Cornell will play a total of 17 games as part of the 2010 regular campaign. Out of those matches, 10 will be against squads outside the Ivy League and eight of these contests will form the Red’s first fixtures for the year.

Cornell will look to begin its quest for a winning season tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., when it visits Brooklyn, N.Y., to play its first contest of the year against Long Island University.

The Black Birds already started their campaign on the right track, winning in overtime, 4-3, in their first matchup of the season against the New Jersey Institute of Technology. A win against Cornell will improve Long Island’s winning streak to two before it travels to Wilmington, N.C., as a contestant in the UNCW/Courtyard by Marriot Classic.

However, the Red has other plans. Under the leadership of head coach Jaro Zawislan, the squad is seeking to forget last year’s results –– a 6-6-5 overall record –– and focus on winning one game at a time. As a consequence, there are constructive views in the locker room regarding this season and the game against the Black Birds.

“Our expectation is to win as many games as we can,” Onambele said. “We are going to have a positive attitude no matter what happens. We won’t lose our focus.”

It will be interesting to see how tomorrow’s game pans out while taking into account that Cornell had a negative goal difference last season –– by allowing 23 goals and scoring 20. Long Island started its season with a good offensive rhythm, which may extend into the contest against the Red.

It is because of this reason that it will be important for the defense –– led by sophomore Ben Kenyon, an honorable All-Ivy selection as a central back –– to close attacking options for Long Island’s forwards. Cornell’s goalkeeping may also play a huge factor in preventing the Black Birds’ possessions from touching the net. Both senior Scott Brody and sophomore Rick Pflasterer had playing time last season and will seek to use that experience as an advantage for the Red.

“We know that we must work very hard,” said senior defender Craig Dimbleby. “But we will be going into both of our games looking for positive results.”

After the trip to Brooklyn, Cornell will return to Ithaca on Labor Day to play its first home game of the season at Charles F. Berman Field against Hartwick College. The Hawks already lost to Iona College, 5-1, in their first game of the regular season under the new reign of head coach John Scott.

Original Author: AJ Ortiz