September 12, 2010

Men’s Soccer Team Comes Up Short in Vermont

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The Cornell men’s soccer team was one of the four competing rosters in the 20th annual Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Nike Fall Classic this past weekend. Vermont played host to the tournament as Cornell, New Hampshire and Presbyterian College traveled to Burlington, Vt. for the Classic’s matchups. Cornell opened the weekend’s play in a draw against UNH on Friday and then concluded it in a loss to Vermont yesterday afternoon.

The Red went into Friday’s game with a 1-1-0 record, which became completely uniform by the end of the 90 minutes of play. While most of the first half witnessed no change on the scoreboard, Cornell finally made it on for a 1-0 lead at 35:21 into the game. Junior forward Chase Aaronson beat a New Hampshire defender for a slot shot near the post, unassisted, marking his first goal on the season.

“New Hampshire went into that game with an undefeated, 1-0-1, record. We started very well with possessions and opportunities created with those possessions. We were able to put one chance away and keep momentum going our way,” said head coach Jaro Zawislan.

However, what looked like Cornell domination shifted in the second half, when the Wild Cats fought back and outshot the Red, 7-4. At 73:51, UNH made its appearance on the board, tying the game at one. Despite valiant rallying attempts by both teams to come out for the win, neither squad could put in another ball during regulation. Two overtimes witnessed no further change in the scoreboard, so the game remained at 1-1.

“The second half was more balanced, more even. UNH started creating chances and then with just 16 to 17 minutes left scored a goal. We should’ve done better defending and we obviously weren’t happy with their goal,” Zawislan said. “But I was proud of how the team reacted … they didn’t give up and continued to create chances.”

Zawislan noted that since UNH was a quality team playing on a neutral field, it was nice to see that the players were still not completely satisfied by the results of that game.

After having Saturday to rest, the Red returned to action against host of the Classic, Vermont. At 1:30 p.m. yesterday, the team returned to the field hoping for a second win on the season.

“We went into the next game with our signature high-pressure, high-tempo play, with higher tempo than that of Friday,” Zawislan said.

Cornell appeared to be in good standing when it came out for an early lead at 20:36 into the contest. Junior forward Franck Onambele scored his second goal of the season off of an assist from senior defenseman Craig Dimbleby.

“The teams kept going back and forth but the Red kept play alive in the penalty box and eventually took a 1-0 lead, and kept momentum going after that,” Zawislan said. “However Vermont wouldn’t just give up.”

Again, the Red was unable to maintain its lead against its opposition. The Catamounts responded almost immediately to the Red goal, tying the game at one at the 26-minute mark.

“It’s a credit to Vermont that they were able to net the equalizer and then keep the momentum going. Both teams continued with end-to-end action and there were many good chances on both sides,” Zawislan said.

While the rest of the first half didn’t include further successful action, the second half saw another one in by Vermont. The game concluded in the hosting school’s favor after the Catamounts had outdone Red’s number of shots on goal, 13-5, to win 2-1.

“It’s not like we’re getting shutout by the other team. We are creating opportunities and with this style of possession-based soccer the players’ technical efficiency is good and coming together,” Zawislan said.

Unfortunately, the finishing is one of the most important parts of the game

“We need to be somewhat sharper around the box,” he said. “We see how we’re playing but the thing is, this isn’t figure skating (though I have full and complete respect for figure skating) and we don’t get points for style –– we get points only for scoring.”

Zawislan mentioned that the only thing in the way of the team coming fully together is the race against time that fall sports have to face. The team is doing well in laying a foundation with building blocks, and it will hopefully finish coming together before the young season draws to its quick close.

“What differentiates a middle-of-the-pack team from an above average and exceptional team is being able to get it all together sooner rather than later,” Zawislan said.

The Red will return to Ithaca for its second game on Charles F. Berman Field this year on Thursday, as St. Josephs comes to East Hill. This will signify the first of a series of games for the Red in the upstate New York area, which will give the team a nice home fan base and rest from the road.

Original Author: Reena Gilani