The Cornell men’s soccer team played its last game of the season last Saturday afternoon, and after ceding a 4-0 loss to Ivy League champion Columbia, the Red failed to capture what would have been its first and only Ivy League win of the year.
The loss came on the heels of two closely contested Ivy League matchups on Berman Field, which gave the Red (1-14-2, 0-7-0 Ivy) some momentum going into its final match up. However, according to junior forward Jonathan Cullom, this energy did not show.
“Sometimes you’re just not there,” he said. “We had a couple of strong performances against Princeton and Dartmouth, but we weren’t able to match that execution level against Columbia.”
However, Cullom was sure to give Columbia (13-3-1, 5-1-1 Ivy) credit in the game as well. With an Ancient Eight title on the line, the Lions brought intensity to the pitch that the Red could not match.
“Columbia was a good team,” Cullom said. “We prepared well, but it came down to execution at the end of the day. We struggled to match their intensity a bit.”
The Red ends its season ranked seventh in the Ivy League, coming ahead of Harvard, whose season was ended abruptly by the University due to the team’s producing of documents that rated women on physical appearances. While this end might not have been the result the players were hoping for, it was certainly a result they were expecting, given the massive administrative changes in its program this year.
“We know this season would be hard,” Cullom said. “I think with a new coach, the culture of the program, the chemistry, and what Cornell men’s soccer is all about is changing.”
Head coach John Smith has continually emphasized the long term growth the Red would need to undergo to improve. Despite the numbers in the record book, Smith has gained respect from the team, and the players seem confident that he will keep them on the right track going forward.
“Everyone enjoyed working with him,” Cullom said. “He’s definitely taking this program in the right direction. It’s not going to be instantaneous, but it’s going to take a year or two years to do.”
Heading into the summer, the players will be focusing primarily on execution, their cohesiveness as a team and their individual performance.
“It’s just a matter of execution,” Cullom said. “We’re training really hard to improve technically, and to improve fitness. We’re doing a lot of team building, and also a lot of individual focus.”
The Red is looking forward to its next season. It is calm and cognizant of where it is in its developmental process, and looks forward to continuing the uphill battle next season on the pitch.
“It’s going to be something exciting to build off of,” Cullom said. “We’re very close to tipping the score.”