Cornell men’s soccer continued its winning ways in its home opener, edging out Fairleigh Dickinson University in a 1-0 victory over the weekend.
Both teams came in highly ranked in the Northeast Region, with FDU at No. 2 and Cornell at No. 3, according to a United Soccer Coaches NCAA D1 poll released on September 10th.
Each side showcased its masterclass early, as the game began with an offensive flurry, even despite the ultimate low-scoring outcome of the match. Less than a minute into the game, FDU had a shot that cannoned off the goal post and out. Two minutes later, Cornell formulated an attack of its own to make an early statement.
After a shot by freshman defender Connor Drought was saved by the FDU goalkeeper, sophomore forward Emeka Eneli received a pass right in front of the goal to set up a volley strike that put the Red up, 1-0. After scoring seven goals — good for second-most by a Cornell player — last season, Eneli started his 2019 tally after failing to score in the Red’s first two matches.
After jumping out to that early lead, the Red did not let up. Continuous attacking drives were led by junior Harry Fuller, with 3 shots on goal and freshman Brandon Morales, with 1 assist and 2 shots on goal. Senior forward George Pedlow did an excellent job of winning contested loose balls to start many attacking sequences.
“It’s always really important in the first ten minutes to set the tone and try to make an impact early on so we can dictate the game,” said senior midfielder John Scearce.
Scearce was a force in the midfield, winning header after header and putting offensive pressure on the FDU defense. He ended the day with 5 shots on goal.
The team finished with an astounding total of 22 overall shots, treating home fans to an offensive clinic — though the final 1-0 score would not suggest such a fact.
Head coach John Smith spoke highly of the supportive Berman crowd.
“Shoutout to the band, [who] created a fun atmosphere,” he said.
Defying last season’s home struggles, the Red is now confident that it can start a new trend in 2019.
“We want this to be a place where people don’t want to play us,” said sophomore defender Jonah Kagen of Cornell’s home turf.
Cornell is now 2-1 on the season, with a two-game win streak.
Next up, the Red will play Tuesday on the road against upstate rival Syracuse.