Sprint football hosted the well-prepared University of Pennsylvania (2-3) squad last Friday night. Though Cornell was shut out in a loss, much improvement was seen, especially on the defensive side. The Red entered halftime having given up only three points.
“It was a close game for the first three quarters,” said junior captain Will Anderson. “But in the end, they played a little more physical than us.”
The Red drops to 0-4 on the season, but this game saw Cornell’s best defensive showing and was the closest game on point differential. With only three games remaining in the season, now is the time to build on the recent success and propel the team’s momentum. The team can not let its record discourage effort in the final stretch of the season.
“We’re having a great time playing,” Anderson said. “We haven’t had much success in the win column so far, but we’re looking forward now that that the more challenging part of the season is behind us.”
In a challenging half of the season, Cornell’s losses have been to Army West Point (4-1), Mansfield (4-1), Navy (4-0) and Penn (3-2). Senior captain Xavier Martinez echoed Anderson’s sentiments.
“The beginning of our season was a lot harder than the back end,” Martinez said. “It was great to get battle tested like that, and we’ve seen a lot of improvement along the way. Hopefully we can start seeing some results.”
Up next for the Red are Chestnut Hill (0-4), Caldwell (3-1) and Saint Thomas Aquinas (1-3). They definitely are not a walk in the park, but these are the games that Cornell needs to win in order to salvage a successful season.
With games in the three ensuing weeks, the Red have a plan for success: keep the defensive effort alive and generate a spark on offense.
“The two keys are for our defense to keep doing what they’ve been doing and holding us in games,” Martinez added. “And on offense, using what we’ve built so far and putting those pieces in action. We have all the pieces to do it.”
The Red returns to Schoellkopf Field to host Chestnut Hill College on Friday at 7p.m. The team is seeking its first win since beating Chestnut Hill last October. The game is Cornell’s first opportunity to take a step in the right direction and finish the season strong.
“We’re looking ahead and we’re looking to have a good time doing it,” Anderson concluded.