Cornell men’s soccer failed to come back in an exhilarating game against Penn, falling 3-2 and ending its three-game winning streak.
The game was essentially a clash of the forwards, with a lot of shots going back and forth. The Red’s attacking side showed promise in tallying two goals, but the defense lagged behind, repeatedly losing track of opposing attackers during set pieces.
The usual defense of center backs senior Ryan Bayne and sophomore Tate Keir and wings sophomore Jonah Kagen and freshman Connor Drought stood sturdy for most of the team’s past games. However, the defensive line disappointed from the start, giving Penn its first header shot three minutes into the game. After two minutes, Penn midfielder Ben Stitz finished a low cross from forward Jake Kohlbrenner. The central defenders lost sight of Stitz trailing behind waiting for a cut-back completely undefended.
The Red was quick to come back, as junior midfielder Vardhin Manoj scored the equalizer during a scuffle inside the penalty box after a corner kick. He shot the ball, which had been deflected by Tate Keir, to put the Red back in the game.
Yet the Red’s defense didn’t seem as sharp as in past games, conceding a lot of crosses from both sides of the field. Senior goalkeeper Ryan Shellow was put to work a few times, and eventually Penn achieved a penalty kick in the 20th minute. Tate Keir committed a handball inside the box, and junior midfielder Harry Fuller received a yellow card while protesting. Penn’s Brandon Bartel scored the penalty putting Penn up by a goal once again, at 2-1.
The Red struggled to regain possession throughout the rest of the first half, and this remained the same in the first part of the second half. Penn midfielder Joey Bangdia opened up the Quakers’ attack with a sharp shot in the 51th minute. Joey Bangdia scored for Penn in the 64th minute with a shot to the lower corner, putting his team up by two goals.
Cornell junior midfielder Tyler Bagley got one back in the 80th minute after putting the ball in the net following a missed clearance and a mistake by Penn’s goalkeeper to properly secure the ball off on awkward bounce. Cornell dominated the next 10 minutes, trying to get an equalizer to force the game into overtime.
The Red had one last chance with a few seconds left on the clock. A quality cross was delivered to the middle and freshman defender Will Citron had a wide open header, but it went straight into the hands of the goalkeeper, ending the game.
The attacking side showed great concentration, looking out for second balls; both of the goals were a result of deflections and second balls. However, the defense allowed open headers to Penn’s forwards and committed a hand ball.
The Red will face Colgate at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Berman Field.