The regular season will soon come to an end for the Cornell men’s soccer team (11-3-1, 4-2 Ivy League). On Saturday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m, Cornell’s eleven will clash with in-state and inter-conference rival Columbia University (1-10-4, 0-4-2 Ivy) on Berman Field. The Red are 5-3-2 in their last ten contests with the Lions.
Cornell is coming off a 2-1 victory on the road in double overtime over Dartmouth (2-11-1, 0-5-1 Ivy League), in which senior midfielder Tyler Bagley came through with a walkoff goal in the 100th minute. Bagley places sixth among all NCAA players with 13 goals on the season.
It was a critical win for Cornell as they look to earn an at-large NCAA tournament bid. While the Red were not ranked in the most recent Nov. 7 United Soccer Coaches poll, the team is ranked 28th nationally in Rating Percentage Index, which could bode well for Cornell’s postseason hopes.
The tournament bracket will be unveiled at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15. 26 out of 48 total bids are reserved for conference champions, leaving 22 at-large bids up for grabs. Among these teams, Cornell is slotted in at around 21st according to the United Soccer Coaches poll and 16th according to RPI. This means the Red are likely holding onto one of the last at-large spots, so beating Columbia is pivotal to keeping the season alive.
The Red have consistently performed as one of the top goal-scoring teams in the nation, registering 2.6 goals per game — placing them at fourth in NCAA. At the forefront has been an experienced attack, led by Bagley (13 goals), senior forward Emeka Eneli (7) and senior midfielder Harry Fuller (5).
On Saturday, their collegiate careers will be celebrated along with the rest of an embattled, program-altering senior class. Ten seniors will have their playing careers honored on Saturday: keeper Andrew Hevener, defenders Tate Keir, Jonah Kagen, and Nick Allen, midfielders Charlie Ferguson, Harry Fuller, and Tyler Bagley, as well as forwards Charles Touche, Emeka Eneli and Szabolcs Wiksell.
Columbia is winless in Ivy League competition, but that may not reflect their competitiveness. The Lions come to Ithaca after a 3-2 loss to Harvard (7-5-3, 2-2-2 Ivy League). Goalscoring has been a very diverse affair for the Lions this season, with ten different players earning a goal. Columbia’s attack should also be noted for its youthfulness, as freshman and sophomores make up eight of the ten players who’ve found the back of the net.
As a unit, Columbia averages 0.73 goals scored per game and 1.67 goals allowed per game. Junior Michael Collodi has been the Lions’ goalkeeper for most of the year, conceding an average 1.54 goals per game and boasting a 77.4 save percentage.
Cornell will conclude the regular season and celebrate a high-achieving senior class on Sat., November 13 at 4 p.m. at Berman Field against Columbia in an important matchup that will have consequences on the team’s ability to earn a bid in the upcoming NCAA championship tournament.