Men’s soccer made history on Sunday afternoon by winning its first NCAA Tournament game since 1977. With a tense finish, No. 14 Cornell outlasted Maryland, 2-1.
Coming off an incredible year, it was the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2012. While scoreless in the first half, it was all dominated by the Red. Cornell led 6-1 in shots and controlled possession for more than 25 minutes in the first half. Niklas Neumann of Maryland made all of his saves of the night just within the first.
Everything changed in the last 10 minutes of regulation. Sophomore forward Danny Lokko found the back of the net with seven minutes remaining to give the Red a 1-0 lead. Not even three minutes later, Lokko struck again, doubling the Cornell lead.
A comfortable 2-0 lead was shaken in the final three minutes when Maryland’s Albi Ndrenika scored. The goal rejuvenated the Terrapins, who kept offensive pressure in the final minutes. The attempted comeback was cut short as a no-call in the box went Cornell’s way and the clock ran out.
Up next, Cornell will face No. 3 Syracuse at SU Soccer Stadium. The Orange beat Penn on Sunday in double overtime to set up a rematch against the Red. Back in October, a newly-ranked Red upset the nationally-ranked Syracuse to hand them only the second loss of the season, after a loss against Virginia.
After they faced the Orange last month, junior forward Matthew Goncalves told the Sun that despite being the underdogs, the Red was confident it could secure a win.
“I think the entire team kind of had full confidence in what we could do and in our play styles and we weren’t intimidated at all going into the Syracuse game. We knew it was going to be a big game, but we kind of had trust in our system and that our system would take place and everything would come out alright,” said Goncalves.
Cornell will look to keep that same mindset when they face Syracuse on Sunday at 2 p.m.