Coming off a win against Harvard, men’s soccer (9-1, 2-0 Ivy) upset No.7 Syracuse (10-2-1, 4-1 ACC) at their home stadium on Tuesday. They continued their winning streak with another win at Brown (5-3-1, 0-1-1 Ivy) in a close-fought game on Saturday, before falling in an upset to Colgate on Tuesday.
The Red looked to keep their undefeated record at away games when they headed to Syracuse to face the Orange.
Prior to the start of the game, Cornell earned a berth into the top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches rankings at No.22. According to Goncalves, the Red came across as the underdogs against Syracuse on paper, but in the minds of the players, they were on top.
“I think the entire team kind of had full confidence in what we could do and in our play styles…we weren’t intimidated at all,” said junior forward Matthew Goncalves. “We had trust in our system and that our system would take place and everything would come out alright.”
Unlike the game against Harvard, the Red racked up points within the first 15 minutes. Senior defender Cam Maquat kicked the ball over to senior midfielder Brandon Morales. Fighting off a Syracuse defender he did a flashy back heel pass to senior defender and captain Connor Drought. Drought crossed the ball in and the Syracuse goalie tried to make a save, but the Red’s junior defender Kisa Kiingi found the back of the net as the ball was near the goal line and earned Cornell’s first goal of the game in the twelfth minute.
Besides a couple of fouls, the game was quiet until the second half. Halfway through the second half, junior forward Matthew Gonclaves obtained a penalty kick and secured the Red’s second goal.
Unfortunately, hopes of a shutout were destroyed when Syracuse scored through a penalty kick late into the second half.
After their big win on Tuesday, Cornell traveled to Providence where they faced Brown. After a scoreless first half, the Red fought well into the second half. After 72 minutes into the game, Morales got his name on the board with Cornell’s first goal. The lead however did not last for long as Brown scored fifteen minutes later with a give and go play. To finish, however, Gonclaves was able to clinch the game for the Red near the end of the second half, sustaining the Red’s six-win streak of six and perfect road-record.
Thanks to Goncalves’ game-winning goals against Syracuse and Brown, he was named Ivy League Player of the Week. This was the second consecutive weekend that a Cornell player earned this honor as Morales was named player of the week prior.
This new uptick in talent is thanks to some of the younger players stepping up. After the loss of star players like Tyler Bagley and Harry Fuller, there is a major hole in the roster for the younger guys to fill.
“Everyone’s really good…those sports are opening up for guys who weren’t really in the spotlight beforehand to be able to play how they normally play on the field..and it’s really shown,” Goncalves said.
Right before kickoff against Colgate, Cornell upped its ranking to No.16, thanks to the upset win over Syracuse and the win against Brown.
The newly minted No.16, however, started its reign in the top-20 on a bitter note, with a 1-0 shutout to Colgate.
Both teams attempted to break through and while the Red had three shots on goal compared to two by Colgate, the Raiders finally found the back of the net 76 minutes into the game.
“It wasn’t our best performance, especially [the] first half,” Kiingi said. “We were kind of not as intense as we wanted…and we weren’t working as hard and being locked in on the defensive end.”
According to Goncalves, though it was a loss, it seemed to alleviate some of the pressure off the newly ranked Red.
“We are carrying this burden of okay, like we are winning whatever number of games now in a row…people are talking about it,” Goncalves said. “Not to say it’s almost like a reset button…but that’s what’s done with, we can’t really change anything about what happened…now we’re just looking forward to the next game.”
Cornell finishes the week back at home against Penn (7-1-1, 2-0 Ivy) at 4:00 p.m on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Berman Field. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+. The Red is looking for the first 3-0 start to the Ivy season since 2012.
“Being 9-2, little more than halfway through the season…we’re glad to be in this position,” Kiingi said. “But we know how important each game is to come and how the conference games are really important and it’s great to be 2-0 to start, but we’re looking to continue to play well in the Ivys and not take any games for granted.”