October 20, 2010

Men’s Soccer Shut Out by Lafayette

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The weather in Ithaca is not the only thing that has been getting cold lately. Just ask the men’s soccer team. The Red (4-5-4, 0-2-1 Ivy) has failed to score a goal in its last two games — losing in both contests by a single goal.

Cornell fell, 1-0, to Yale (2-9-2, 1-2 Ivy) last Saturday at Berman Field and extended its losing streak to two when it lost in overtime, 1-0, to Lafayette (6-6-2) on Tuesday in Easton, Pa. The Leopards, on the other hand, broke their four-game losing streak with the win.

“I am not worried about creating chances because we are doing that. We just have to be proper on the penalty box and finish those chances,” said head coach Jaro Zawislan. “We have good amounts of possession time and offensive opportunities.”

Throughout the first period, Cornell only created two shot opportunities — of which only one was on target and eventually saved by junior goalkeeper Graham Heydt. And although Lafayette generated five attacking attempts, not a single one threatened sophomore goalie Rick Pflasterer.

The second half saw the Red getting a shot off on three different offensive opportunities, with only one on goal — which was saved by Heydt. Meanwhile, Cornell’s defense kept its pressure on Lafayette attackers, as the Leopards did not even produce a shot.

“We know goals are important and we want to score goals, but it is also important to give some credit to our defense,” Zawislan.

After the end of regulation and before the overtime period, only two shots on goal were produced during the entire game — both by junior striker Chase Aaronson. However, less than two minutes into overtime, Lafayette’s shot on target arrived, and it proved to be the game’s only goal and game winner.

“Honestly, I feel that’s how soccer is sometimes. You can dominate the complete game and end up losing,” Aaronson said. “We moved the ball really well during the game even though we lost. I think this game is a good step towards the right direction, especially now that we are facing competitive teams such as Dartmouth.”

At 1:54, the Red’s defense conceded a 25-yard free kick to the Leopards when sophomore Sean Peckham was fouled. Peckham took advantage of the stopped-ball situation by passing the ball into the penalty area, where freshman forward Jeff McLaughlin touched the ball towards the net and through Pflasterer’s guard. McLaughlin’s golden goal — the first of his collegiate career — not only brought his team back on the winning track, but also sank Cornell’s overall record under the .500 mark.

This was the fifth time this season the Red has been shut out. In 13 games so far, the team has scored 13 goals while conceding 12 — a plus-one goal difference. With the game against Lafayette, Cornell finished non-conference play with a record of four wins, three losses and three ties (.571) — compared to last year’s .625 winning percentage of five wins, three losses and two ties.

“This season is a continuation about our work process. We would like to win more games but the team is progressing with the style of play and possession time, even though we had a tougher schedule this time,” Zawislan said. “I am proud of the players, program and the progress on the field.”

The Red has four games left in its schedule — at No.14 Brown (8-1-3, 1-1-1 Ivy), hosting Princeton (8-3-1, 3-0-0) and Dartmouth (6-4-1, 1-2-0), and back on the road at Columbia (4-7-1, 0-3-0) — and it can end Ivy play with a winning record by winning three of those games and tying one.

“Our expectations are to come up with a win in each game left,” Aaronson said. “We are playing tough technical teams, but it is always really exciting to play with them.”

Original Author: AJ Ortiz