September 29, 2011

M. SOCCER | Ivy Play Kicks Off as Season Reaches Midpoint

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Beginning Ivy League conference play, the men’s soccer team suits up against Penn at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pa. Saturday. The game against the Quakers (5-2-1) marks the first time the Red (4-1-3) takes the field following a seven-game undefeated streak — the first of its type since the start of the 2002 season.

“We know that the next game is the most important one. There is no game like a conference game. It is just a totally different environment and intensity,” said head coach Jaro Zawislan regarding the game against Penn. “There is momentum generated here through the undefeated streak, but Saturday will be a new game. Whatever we have done in the past, it won’t matter … the beginning of the game will be 0-0. Whatever we will get out of this game, we will have to earn it on the field.”

Cornell travels to its game against Penn following a win over St. Joseph’s, 1-0, despite torrential flooding and a two-hour rain delay on Friday, and a tie against St. Bonaventure, 1-1, on Monday. The tie against the Bonnies concluded the most crowded period of the Red’s season, with five games in 11 days. Beginning this weekend, the team plays approximately one game per week for the rest of the season, with tough competition lying ahead from the Ancient Eight.

“Ivy League games are a whole new level,” explained sophomore defensemen Jake Rinow when asked about the rest of the season and the game plan for Saturday. “[We have to do the] same thing we have done all season, just upgrade the level [of play] — same style of play, same game plan — we just have to bring it even harder.”

The Red appears ready to battle the Quakers, who are ranked one spot ahead this week; however, a look at the Ivy League’s standings shows that both Cornell and Penn are tied with a winning percentage of 68.8.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge … but I think the outlook is positive,” Rinow said in regard to the Red’s chances of emerging victorious against Penn.

The Red goes into the second half of its season with seven Ivy League games left to play, in addition to one non-conference game against Colgate.

After scoring 14 goals already this year, the team topped its total goal count from the 2010 season. Additionally, sophomore forward Daniel Haber was honored as the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week on Sept. 26, and will be a valuable asset to the team this weekend against Penn. Cornell seems very optimistic about its chances, but recognizes the work that lies ahead and the challenge that the Quakers pose.

“Everyone feels very confident, but everyone is a little cautious,” said senior forward Chase Aaronson. “We can’t be over-confident going in. I feel like everyone, especially the returners, who have experienced a winning streak like this, at least an undefeated streak, are taking it cautiously.”

“We are looking forward to the challenge — we are not just going to play and compete, but I have full confidence in our players and our team that we are ready to go after the positive result,” Zawislan added. “We have quality players on our team that are looking forward to the challenge, that is why we play.”

Original Author: Haley Velasco