In yet another instance of late game dramatics, Cornell men’s soccer prevailed over Lehigh in a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night. The Red’s tilt against Lehigh was its fifth victory away from home in its six away games.
The Red (6-2-0) went up two goals after freshman Charlie Ferguson’s free kick in the 28th minute and sophomore Vardhin Manoj’s acrobatic finish in the 53rd minute. Lehigh (4-4-1) responded by scoring in the 62’ and 72’. The game was sent to overtime where the Red finally bested the Mountain Hawks thanks to sophomore forward Charles Touche’s 92’ goal which was set up by freshman Emeka Eneli.
Despite giving up a two-goal lead on the road, Head Coach John Smith was pleased with his team’s performance and spoke to the mental strength of his squad after the overtime victory.
“Any win on the road is special,” Smith said. “It’s not easy to win road games, and so for us to have won five already this year is quite remarkable. I am happy with the fact that we stayed positive after giving up a two goal lead. Many teams would have crumbled at that point against a good Lehigh team.”
While the Red has had an impressive start to the season, Smith and his team know there are improvements to be made ahead of this weekend’s Ivy League play opener against Penn.
“There are always things to work on after games, and today’s game certainly gave us more things to look at,” Smith said. “We will get back to work on Thursday in preparation for Penn.
The Red have built a reputation this year for being particularly spectacular in late-game situations and in games when they go down one goal. However, heading into Ivy League play, where all the stakes are raised, such an affinity for late game theatrics might not pan out as expected.
“The key thing is to continue to focus on the things that have worked so far for us this season. Everyone knows their role, and it is important that we continue to do our job,” Smith said.
Eneli continued his dominant season notching an assist against Lehigh bringing him to 10 points on the season. The freshman is on a hot streak having scored four goals and assisted on two so far this season.
The Red will open up Ivy League play at 1 p.m. this Saturday at Berman Field against Penn.