October 31, 2010

Men’s Soccer Fails to Upset No. 20 Princeton at Home

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As conference play continued for the men’s soccer team over the weekend, Cornell fell, 1-0, as it hosted nationally ranked Princeton. This marks the fourth consecutive game in which the Red was held scoreless by its opponent, bringing Cornell’s season record to 4-7-4 (0-4-1 Ivy).

Overall, the Red played a very close and competitive match with the Tigers (10-3-1, 5-0 Ivy), though with some slight lag to reaching this level of intensity.

Cornell could have perhaps come out a little bit stronger during the first half, in which neither team scored though Princeton managed outshoot the Red, 6-2. The Tigers also tallied more corner kicks in this half, 4-3, and took one less foul than the Red’s three in the first 45-minutes.

“For the first 15-20 minutes we could have come out with a little bit more pressure. We came out a little flat, I don’t know whether they caught us off-guard or we were just unprepared. We touched upon that [yesterday in practice],” said sophomore striker Tyler Regan.

However, the home squad made up for this during the second half, in which it boasted a 30-minute offensive surge.

“I think we came out, especially with the coach talking to us at the half, with a lot of energy,” Regan said. “We were realizing we had a chance to put away the game early if we scored, and this created a high-pressure situation.”

Regan, along with classmate Nico Nissi, led the Red’s offense on Saturday night with two shots –– one on goal –– apiece.

Unfortunately for Cornell, it was Princeton that made it onto the scoreboard just a little bit into one hour mark. The Tigers’ Matt Sanner blasted in a ball past Red senior goaltender Scott Brody after a deflection attempt by the net-minder.

Still, Cornell put up a big fight as it outshot the Tigers in this half, 7-5, and also tallied five corner kicks to Princeton’s one. The Tigers only had one shot on goal opportunity in the latter 45 minutes, but this was all they needed, as they were able to fully capitalize .

“We were hoping to pound it in when we had to take it off bounds … have Jimmy [Lannon] throw it in hope for a ball in the net,” Regan said, noting that Lannon’s long throw-ins provided some of the best opportunities for Cornell. “We managed to hit two crossbars and a clear in the box after some really intense play so it was just unlucky that we weren’t able to tie it up.”

Indeed, the play throughout the game was very intense, with 30 fouls marked for the night. The amount of physical play present showed that Cornell was ready to be aggressive against a team that is ranked 20th in the country.

“Honestly I thought we played a really great game of soccer and it just so happens that that’s just how the game goes,” said junior forward Chase Aaronson. “Sometimes you could dominate and have as many chances as you want but you might not always come out with the result. I thought everybody on the field played great … I thought we played much better than Princeton in the second half and we definitely should have put some goals away.”

Aaronson, a leading offensive player for the Red, holds the perspective of someone on the sidelines in Saturday’s game, as he did not play due to an MCL tear in his knee. Additionally, a number of other players have been out with injury, including sophomore defender Ben Kenyon.

“It’s both good and bad to have players out with injuries,” said Regan, who played again for the first time on Saturday after missing two games. “It’s bad because it obviously helps to have them on the field but at the same time it allows the other players [who] otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have as much field time to step up and play.”

He added that this allows for the depth of the Red to be exhibited. It also allows for the freshmen and sophomores who will be in more regular starting positions on the team to gain more experience, and also demonstrates the talent that exists with all 36 members of the roster.

“Princeton’s been beating a lot of teams with three goals, so for us to come out with a 1-0 loss and for us to have been dominating in the second half shows that we were playing really well,” Aaronson said.

Original Author: Reena Gilani