Jason Wu / Sun Staff Photographer

Emeka Eneli (14)'s big game against Marist helped earn him Ivy League player of the week honors.

September 28, 2021

Red Men’s Soccer Kick Off Ivy Play Saturday at Penn

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The Red will travel to Philadelphia Saturday for a date with Penn (4-2-1). The Red (5-1-1) enters Ivy League competition with a high-scoring attack that features one of the top goalscorers in the nation — senior midfielder Tyler Bagley — who has already tallied eight goals on the season. 

It was a successful week at Berman Field for Cornell. On Tuesday, the team played to a 1-1 draw with Central New York rival Syracuse on the foot of senior forward Harry Fuller’s 57th-minute goal. 

The backline was up to the task, conceding just four shots on goal as junior keeper Brady McSwain secured three saves. As anticipated, the annual rivalry game was a chippy affair. Syracuse ended with 22 fouls and three yellow cards, while Cornell drew the ire of the officials 14 times for three yellow cards. 

While the Red controlled the ball for a majority of the first half, it was Syracuse that struck first. In the 41st minute, a ball played down the left side of the field was touched into the box and then converted into the bottom right corner of the net by freshman forward Francesco Pagano. 

In the second half, the consistent presence of the Red in the attacking third finally gave it the much-needed equalizer. In a miraculous sequence of events, Fuller clipped the ball from his defender, spun around and booted it past the keeper for his fourth goal of the season. 

The Red kept the pressure up, forcing Syracuse senior keeper Lucas Daunhaurer to make six saves, but it couldn’t piece together a scoring play in the closing minutes. Both sides refused to be beaten in either of the double overtime periods. Scoring chances seemed to dissipate as the minutes tallied on. The final score, 1-1, reflected the evenness between the Red and the Orange, two sides that look capable of making the NCAA tournament. 

Then, on Saturday afternoon, the attack broke through for Cornell as the team scored five unanswered goals to topple Marist College 5-1. Senior forward Emeka Eneli had a standout game, scoring two goals and assisting one as well. 

For his efforts, Eneli was named Ivy League Player of the Week for Sept. 21. The week prior, Bagley won the same award. His play was also critical to the positive result against Marist, scoring the equalizing goal in the 35th minute and adding another in the 74th minute. 

McSwain conceded an early goal, then proceeded to shut out Marist for the remaining 86 minutes. The keeper finished with six saves. 

Cornell has conceded just three goals in the last three games, but will be tested on Saturday against a Penn attack that averages 2.14 goals per game. In their last outing, the Quakers defeated Monmouth University 1-0. 

A trifecta of seniors will look to break down the Red’s backline: midfielder Joey Bhangdia, forward Matt Leigh and midfielder Ben Stitz. 

Stitz leads the team in points (10) and assists (6) and will look to find Bhangdia (3 goals) and Leigh (3 goals, 64 percent of shots-on-goal) on the front-foot. Penn could opt to start either senior Dane Jacomen or junior Nico Chrisoffersen in goal. Jacomen recorded a clean sheet against Monmouth, finishing with five saves. In four games, Jacomen has conceded five goals and made 16 saves. 

The Quakers have rotated between the two keepers each game, so Christoffersen could be due for the task. The junior keeper has allowed three goals and made seven saves in three outings. Regardless of who wears the gloves, Cornell will have to overcome a staunch defensive unit allowing only 1.14 goals per game. 

The Red (5-1-1) will look to continue their winning ways in their first Ivy League game in 686 days when they visit Penn (4-2-1) on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.