September 16, 2010

Inclement Weather Forces Postponement of M. Soccer Game

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There are many debates regarding Ithaca, N.Y. Some people think that Ithaca is gorges. Others believe that Ithaca is “gangsta.” But if there is one thing people can’t argue about, it’s that Ithaca’s weather is crazy. If East Hill’s climate was a human child, it would be the offspring of Charles Manson and Paris Hilton.

The men’s soccer team certainly knows this. It is due to this reason that weather forecasts predicting turbulent storms made Cornell postpone yesterday’s match against Saint Joseph’s for tonight at 7 p.m. at Charles F. Berman Field. The Red (1-2-1) will face the Hawks (0-4-0) for the first time in program history.

Cornell will host St. Joseph’s after tying, 1-1, and losing, 2-1, to the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont, respectively, in the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Classic. St. Joseph’s, on the other hand, has not won a single game so far this season. The Hawks lost its most recent game, 5-0, to the University of Pittsburgh and was defeated by Penn, 2-0, on Sept. 3.

“It does not matter what happened in the past. That does not affect our preparation for the game,” said head coach Jaro Zawislan. “Their past does not guarantee future results. We need to go out and get positive results; they are not given to us.”

Currently, Cornell has a goal difference of zero, with five goals scored and as many goals conceded. On the other side of the coin is St. Joseph’s, whose struggling defense and slow offense has the squad with a negative nine difference –– 11 goals allowed and two scored. The Hawks have been held scoreless in three of their fours games, contrary to the Red, which did not manage to score in its first game of the season –– a tough 1-0 loss to Long Island University.

“They [St. Joseph’s] have a good coaching staff and a very respectable coach, who was a former professional player,” Zawislan said. “I’m pretty sure that he is working to fix their mistakes. What we need to do is focus that we are sharper with the ball and on our game when we need to execute.”

It will be interesting to see how Cornell’s high-tempo, attack-minded philosophy will perform against a vulnerable and stumbling defense such as St. Joseph’s. If the Red manages to win its second game of the season, it would maintain an undefeated record at Berman Field. Cornell will stay in Ithaca throughout the weekend, hosting Canisius College (0-3-0) on Sunday at 3 p.m.

“I hope that we keep a high-tempo and execute on both sides of the field,” Zawislan said. “We have a style of play and we try to enforce that style on our opponent. They will play as well as we allow them.”

Similarly to the Hawks, the Griffins are failing to perform effectively on both ends of the field. The team has a goal difference of minus eight –– with nine conceded goals and just one offensive score. Canisius’ starting sophomore goalkeeper Kareem Gray has a 2.73 goals-against average, compared to Cornell’s regular sophomore goalie Rick Pflasterer’s 1.42 mark.

The Red and the Griffins have only met once in the history of both squads. They played a close game last season in Buffalo, N.Y., where the match concluded in a 1-1 tie. This time, the Red expects to utilize the home-field advantage.

After Sunday, Cornell will host Syracuse next Wednesday and then will travel to Vestal, N.Y., to play Binghamton. After these two games, Cornell will begin its Ivy League campaign at home against Penn.

“It’s a little bit early to predict how the Ivy League season is going to play itself,” Zawislan said. “But the league is shaping to be one of the top-four conferences in the nation. We had four out of our eight teams participating in the NCAA tournament. As we come close to our opener, we probably will have a fuller picture.

Original Author: AJ Ortiz