Michael Wenye Li / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Canisius' second half goal was one too many for the Red in its 2-1 loss.

September 16, 2017

Despite Loss, Men’s Soccer Strong Back Line Able to Constrain Potent Canisius Offense

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Though Cornell men’s soccer was able to secure an early lead, Canisius ultimately proved to be too much for the young squad to handle, as the Griffins dealt the Red a 2-1 loss by final whistle.

But Cornell (1-3-1) played valiantly against the Griffins (5-1), holding its own against a team renowned for its scoring ability. Canisius is currently ranked second in the nation in assists and points per game as well as third in total assists and scoring offense. Despite having averaged 3.75 goals per game for the past four contests, the Griffins were only able to score twice against the Red.

The back line was especially integral to Cornell’s impressive feat with sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Shellow leading the way with three saves.

Junior captain Ryan Bayne credits the success of the Red’s defensive efforts to being able to adapt to the Griffins’ strategy.

“I think we did quite well dealing with the long ball to the strikers, winning the first ball and then picking up seconds,” Bayne said. “We really limited [Canisius’] chances in the flow of play, with their two goals only coming off a couple unlucky mistakes.”

A relatively young squad composed of mostly freshmen and sophomores, Cornell got its lone goal of the game from freshman Tommy Hansan, who was assisted by fellow classmate Vardhin Manoj to find the back of the net in the fourth minute.

That one interaction to give Cornell the early lead was emblematic of how the team has found its contributions as a whole, according to Bayrne — from its youth.

“This year’s team is one that is very young but also very talented,” Bayne said. “We’ve had quite a few guys come in and start contributing right away.”

The Red and the Griffins were evenly matched, with Cornell taking 10 shots to Canisius’ nine and both teams attempting four corner kicks. However, Bayne states that maintaining focus and intensity for the entire 90 minutes will be crucial for the team’s next contest.

“Next match I think a big focus will be improving our second half performance,” Bayne said. “I thought we dominated for the entirety of the first half and most of the second, [but] just lost some momentum at the start of the second half. I think we are very close to finally putting together a full game.”

The Red will get its next chance to build and maintain momentum on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the SU Soccer Stadium where they will take on powerhouse No. 7 Syracuse (4-1-2).

“I think there’s a lot of potential moving forward this season,” Bayne said. “There is still a lot of season left to play and the focus is to continue working hard in practice and improving through each game.”