September 6, 2010

Men’s Soccer Stuns Hartwick

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The men’s soccer team opened 2010 with a split weekend, making the Red’s record 1-1-0 on the young season. After traveling to Brooklyn, N.Y., for a matchup with Long Island, the group returned to Ithaca for its home opener against Hartwick and made a decisive comeback against its upstate rival. Taking on Long Island on Saturday, the Red put sophomore goalkeeper Rick Pflasterer in net for all 90 minutes of play. Despite Cornell’s greater number of shots and saves, Long Island proved more able to capitalize on opportunities and held its own as it alternated goalies between the two halves. The Black Birds were able to defeat the Red with a single goal in the second half. “It was definitely not the positive result we were looking for on our side,” said head coach Jaro Zawislan. “We created a lot of chances that were quality chances and we only lost by one goal, but maybe being sharper around the goal would’ve helped finish them off — just one or two slight differences could’ve changed the end result dramatically.”“Still,” Zawislan added. “The playing was overall filled with quality, so going into the game against Hartwick meant that there was only a few things we needed to fix rather than turning the whole game upside down, so we were able to focus on the positive aspects from the Long Island game.”Last night’s game against a different set of birds initially looked to have an equally unpromising end for Cornell during its home opener. Once again, neither team could score in the first 45 minutes of play. Less than 10 minutes after the second half opened up, Hartwick got on the board with a goal from a rebound off of a penalty kick that was stopped by Pflasterer. Hartwick was very close to an NCAA bid last season, and this talent was able to shine through in last night’s game. The Hawks added another point to the board as the game approached the 70-minute mark, bringing Hartwick to a lead of two on the scoreless Red. However, after consecutive fouls on both teams, the tide surprisingly turned in Cornell’s favor. Junior forward Franck Onambele, a transfer from Canada’s York University, got the ball into the back of the net with his head from a throw-in by junior midfielder Jimmy Lannon. Just over a minute later, freshman forward Daniel Haber — also previously in Ontario — made another header into the net from a cross by senior defenseman Craig Dimbleby. The game was now tied, but the Red would not settle. Zawislan noted that the team kept its momentum up after scoring each goal, and kept on creating situations of opportunity without letting these chances go. Another minute and a half later, the crowd witnessed as Cornell had not only broken even, but also pulled ahead when junior forward Will Ogden, formerly at Villanova, netted another off of an assist from Haber. “The last 15 minutes of the game, which saw three goals in just under four minutes, was just remarkable to see that the players were able to play their best from the first to the last whistle. The team never gave up and that’s something we pride ourselves on, and we were able to let the field verify the results,” Zawislan said.The game concluded with no more goals from either side, resulting in a victory for Cornell, 3-2, after the Red outshot the Hawks, 11-8. Zawislan said that this came about in part because every member of the team, especially the newcomers, was able to blend together and play well with one another. “I am really just so proud of the group because they can turn it around quickly,” Zawislan said. “It was a one day difference between the games from Long Island and Hartwick. … The guys are receptive and were ready to get fresh onto the field against Hartwick. It is a credit to every single player on this team and how they are all buying into this culture of never giving up and keeping on believing.”

Original Author: Reena Gilani