After 10 days of preseason training, the men’s soccer team is ready for the 2011 season to get underway. The team has been back on campus since Aug. 18 and began preseason training with a fitness test a day later, which consisted of a track test and beep test. In order to pass the track test the players had to run three miles — the first in 6:15, with a two minute break, the second in 6:10, with another two minute break and the last in under 5:30. The beep test consists of shorter sprints back and forth between two sirens. The Red has consistently had grueling two-a-day practices each day since returning to campus, including a scrimmage on Wednesday and Thursday of the first week of classes. Sunday was the last day of two-a-day practices.
“This has been the best preseason we have had,” said senior midfielder Jimmy Lannon. “With everyone passing the fitness test right away and getting on the field it looks really good going forward and it is really exciting.”
The Red also played two preseason games against Division III schools Hobart and Queens on Aug. 24 and 25, respectively, in order to give players the opportunity to gain more game experience and test out rotations for the regular season.
The newcomers this year — 10 in total — have fully assimilated into soccer at Cornell, and have only increased the intensity going into the season.
“They really hit the ground running,” said senior forward Chase Aaronson. “They are all coming in with great experience and very high level of play… They all have similar type goals and are very driven … There isn’t anyone who is lagging behind; they really fit in with the rest of the team, right from day one.”
The team is increasingly optimistic about the approaching season and is looking to improve on its 2010 overall record of 4-8-5 and an Ivy League mark of 0-5-2 — the worst record in the conference. Despite the lack of results, four of the Red’s Ivy losses last year ended in defeat by the narrowest of margins, 1-0. Although there is significant room for improvement within the conference, the team believes that this will be a pivotal year to further establish Cornell’s place in the Ivy League as a formidable opponent.
“Our record last year in the Ivies definitely wasn’t what we were expecting,” Aaronson said. “Our team this year is completely different than last year’s team. We have a good number of new players bringing a lot of intensity and newer style of play and have gotten past our rebuilding period. Now we are going to new goals and looking forward and not really thinking about last season.”
“We have a lot to prove in the Ivy League,” added junior goalkeeper Rick Pflasterer. “There has been a lot of build up to this. Although we haven’t been able to show results, we have gotten better and better and this year we will break through.”
After starting off the season with two home games against Niagara and Lafayette on Sept. 2 and 6, respectively, the Red will travel to Oneonta, N.Y. for the Mayor’s Cup followed by the Cornell-Colgate tournament, held at home the weekend of Sept. 16. Cornell will not begin conference play until Oct. 1, against Penn. Though the team is excited to see how it stacks up against the Ivy League competition, the focus remains primarily on the first game of the season, with Friday’s contest set to begin at 7 p.m. on Berman Field.
“We are most excited about this Friday,” Lannon said. “It’s going to be a really great experience and hopefully we get a lot of people there.”
Original Author: Nicole Wagner