Cornell men’s soccer is back at home this week after last weekend’s two-game spree in California. The Red will host Niagara at Berman Field Friday at 7 p.m.
Niagara will enter the game with a 2-5 season record, a statistic that may not be entirely indicative of the team’s talent, according to Cornell’s (4-2) head coach John Smith.
“They’ll be a decent team,” Smith said. “Every single one of their games has been on the road. It’s tough to do that, so that record, in my opinion, is deceiving.”
The Red hasn’t faced Niagara since 2013, so the Purple Eagles represent a new challenge for all involved. In order to prepare for this as of yet unseen opponent, Cornell will watch screen footage and obtain scouting reports.
“It’s hard to get a good grasp on what a team is like emotionally by watching film,” Smith said. “But it certainly helps you prepare.”
In its internal preparations, the Red will also look to highlight its own strengths as way to ensure the best possible outcome.
“We don’t want to cater our preparation to our opponent,” Smith said. “We want to cater it, to some extent, to what we’re good at.”
But as Cornell searches for another victory this season, the team is looking to grow and develop beyond what its record might indicate about its performance.
“There’s a lot more behind the win-loss column,” Smith said. “[The game] is an opportunity to look at individual performances as well as the relationships that are forming between different groups of players.”
Just eight days away from the beginning of its Ivy League season, the Red will look to build momentum now with a victory against the Purple Eagles. What’s more, Cornell is looking to build a reputation that expands the reach of just the Ivy League, all the more reason that Niagra represents an important out-of-conference matchup
“Every game is important,” Smith said. “The goal for us is to be a program that’s recognized nationally, not just in the Ivy. So you have to win these games.”