September 14, 2011

MEN’S SOCCER | C.U. Determined to Pounce Early in Classic

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This Homecoming weekend, the Cornell men’s soccer team will co-host the CU Inaria Classic with Colgate. The Red (0-1-2) takes on Long Island on Friday at 7 p.m. and Hofstra (1-2-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m.In its two previous games, Cornell tied both Lafayette (1-1) and Hartwick (1-1). Cornell had to come from behind in both games, as the Red’s opponent scored the first goal of each contest in the beginning of the second half. Both the games are indicative of the team’s ability to rally under pressure rather than become disheartened once the opposing team has scored.“Nobody likes to get behind — our preference is not to be behind one goal,” said head coach Jaro Zawislan. “However, the positive thing that comes out of those games is the strength of the character of the team coming back from being down, 1-0, and carrying on the momentum. We are creating enough chances to win the game … and we are addressing a couple things that led to the goal. Our goal is always to get the win.”The game against Long Island is at the forefront of the team’s focus this week. The Blackbirds (1-1-2) will face Cornell after a victory against Rider, 1-0, and a scoreless tie against NJIT. Last season, the team lost to Long Island, 1-0, in the opening game of the season, but won the previous year, 2-1, at home.“We played [Long Island] last year and their field is not the best,” said senior midfielder Jimmy Lannon. “It’s definitely one of the least enjoyable fields to play on, so we are looking forward to getting another shot at them. We thought we should have won the game we lost to them. But with a big crowd, we are really excited for [the game].”Despite Cornell’s prior experience against Long Island, the focus remains solely on the game this year, rather than on previous matchups. “It will be a brand new game, the past results won’t have a bearing on it, the scoreboard at the beginning of the game is 0-0 and we will have to earn whatever we get out of this game on the field,” Zawislan said.All the teams participating in the Inaria Classic get Saturday off. Cornell will use that day to practice and reassess its strategy for Sunday against Hofstra.“Physically, we will have a light practice on Saturday; however, from a tactical point of view, we are going to quickly turn around our focus on Hofstra,” Zawislan said. “That means [in only one day] we will have to address the issues that came out on Friday night’s game and fix whatever needs to be fixed before Sunday. In addition, we will have to prepare our team for Hofstra by giving the players a scouting report and focusing on that game.”Hofstra has secured one win so far this season, against Albany on Aug. 29, losing its other two games to Iona and St. Francis. The current Red players have never played the Pride before, so the team is preparing itself for a quality game against a formidable opponent.“We have no experience with Hofstra in our previous three years, but sometimes that’s a good thing,” said senior defender Kyle Parsons. “We are always excited to play new teams. There are a wide variety of styles in college soccer, so it’s always cool to experience different teams.”Since the two games coincide with homecoming weekend, the team is looking forward to playing for a larger crowd, which will heighten the excitement and increase the intensity on the field.“In the two previous games, we’ve put up really good performances,” Lannon said. “We’ve had to come back, so we have to make the next step and take over the games from the start, rather than getting into the difficult positions. Being at home will give us a little more energy that we need.”“Homecoming is always exciting. A lot of alumni come back to support us, so hopefully we will have a big crowd of old and new faces. We’ve put up some good performances; it’s time for us to get the results,” he added.

Original Author: Nicole Wagner