Cornell men’s soccer dominated for 90 minutes against Harvard at Berman Field on Saturday, exploding offensively in a 6-0 smackdown of the Crimson.
With the win, the Red is on a two-game winning streak and bounced back from an Oct. 5 loss to Penn.
The Red started a game with rotation in its formation; freshman center back Will Citron started in place of sophomore defender Tate Keir, and junior striker Charles Touche was given the nod over the team’s star player junior midfielder Harry Fuller.
The Red started off strong playing aggressively. The attacking trio of sophomore forward/midfielder Emeka Eneli, Touche and junior forward/midfielder Vardhin Manoj constantly applied pressure Harvard’s defense line. The high-speed attackers’ placements in the front made Harvard defenders uncomfortable, resulting in constant clear balls and missed passes.
Vardhin Manoj opened the goal fest in the seventh minute after a fabulous one-man run and a precise shot curving away from the Harvard goalie. Touche scored his first goal of the year after following up on a saved header by senior midfielder John Scearce. Senior goalkeeper Ryan Shellow was also put to work as he made a marvelous save after an acrobatic Harvard shot in the 15th minute. Harvard also lost an open net in the 38th minute which could have put them back in the game.
After gaining possession, Cornell carried out its typical yet effective strategy of utilizing its wingbacks and hitting long balls to the side, relying on its speedy wingers to create chances in the middle.
Harvard’s freshman goalie had conceded eight goals in the past four games and made a lot of mistakes throughout the game. He wasn’t able to clear the ball properly — partially because of the wet ground conditions due to rain — and enabled the Red to start its attack with good field positions.
The one-sidedness continued on into the second half. The Red looked determined to prove itself in front of its home crowd, taking shot after shot. The third goal came in the 58th minute when Eneli finished a one-on-one chance after getting a quality pass by senior forward/midfielder George Pedlow in transition offense. It was Eneli’s eighth goal of the season.
In the 63rd minute, John Scearce scored off a deflection after a hustle run by Eneli. Eneli continued to impress as he scored off an inside pass by Touche in the 71st minute, increasing the team’s total to five. Freshman midfielder Griffin Garrard scored a beauty in the 76th minute after taking on a Harvard defender one-on-one.
A lot of reserved bench players were given valuable playing time as Cornell maintained its clean sheet. Cornell ended up with a total of 28 shots and 16 shots on goal with eight corners, dominating Harvard, which had nine shots, six shots on goal and zero corners.
Cornell takes the road to face Yale at 5 p.m. Friday. Unbeaten in its last six games, the Bulldogs currently sit atop the Ivy League.