It did not look promising for Cornell men’s soccer heading into the 80th minute of Friday’s game at Lafayette. The Red was down 1-0 to the Leopards and the team’s prospects of victory were dwindling. But at just the right moment, sophomore forward Charles Touche turned and put an equalizer in the back of the net.
Touche’s goal energized the Red, who seized the momentum and dominated the rest of the game. Regular time ended in a 1-1 draw sending Cornell and Lafayette into overtime. The Red missed an early opportunity that would have ended the game, but junior midfielder John Scearce scored shortly thereafter, ending the game and giving the Red a 2-1 victory.
The victory marks just the 11th time since 1946 that the Red has achieved three straight wins to start its season. With young, budding talent on the roster, the prospects for Cornell look bright in the near future.
Despite the victory, the relatively inexperienced Red certainly found themselves not at the top of its game on Friday.
“We didn’t play particularly well for the first portion of the game leading up to the goal,” said head coach John Smith. “It took us until the midway point in the second half to really play our game. I thought Charles’ goal was spectacular. Wonderful turn and finish. We had the momentum going into overtime.”
The Red showed signs of struggle throughout, but Smith had a feeling that his young team had what it would take to grind out a victory.
“I thought it was a gutsy performance,” Smith said. “We knew before we went down there that this was going to be a big challenge. They’re an aggressive team. They’re quite fit and athletic and they don’t stop. They don’t give up on plays.”
The Red has shown a tremendous amount of improvement in the early days of this season especially with its abrupt influx of youth. The Ivy League has a shorter preseason than the rest of Division I, not to mention the Red began their season with three straight games away from home. Heading into Friday’s game, Cornell had won two games on the road against Binghamton and St. Francis.
“This is such a young group to start the season with three awkward games on the road,” Smith said. “To do as well as we’ve done I think has been great. We’re showing that we have it in us.”
The next challenge for the Red will be Monday’s bout against upstate rival and perennial powerhouse Syracuse. The Red will face the Orange in its first home game of the season.
“Syracuse is a great team,” Smith said. “In my opinion if you can’t get yourself up and get excited for a game like that then you shouldn’t be playing. The guys are looking forward to it. All of these games are great test. This is going to be a great test against a great team.”
The Red’s home opener against Syracuse will kick off at Berman Field at 7pm.