Following a difficult opening weekend, men’s soccer (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) traveled to Buffalo on Saturday to take on Canisius (1-3-1, 0-0 MAAC). With the Golden Griffins having a difficult start to the season, it was a perfect opportunity for the Red to pick up a win heading into a difficult portion of their schedule.
From the opening whistle, Cornell piled on the pressure, committing players forward and racking up shots on goal. In the twentieth minute, a rebound fell to freshman striker Alex Harris to slide home from close range to put the Red in front. A few minutes later, Harris tacked on another goal following a headed assist from senior defender Kisa Kiingi. Cornell had a major height advantage over the home team, and used it to gain multiple good set piece opportunities, including the goal.
Right before halftime, the Red scored once again, with freshman forward Adam Schaban notching his first collegiate goal following a scramble in the penalty area and an assist from Harris.
The first half onslaught from Cornell clearly displayed its intention to play attacking soccer, building from a performance last weekend against Vermont that was strong despite the Catamounts coming away with the win. Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Friedberg emphasized the importance of sticking with this style of play despite it not getting the result on that occasion.
“We knew that we stuck to our identity and we controlled the game against Vermont and things simply didn’t go our way,” Friedberg said. “With that being said, the team felt that if we can continue playing like that, results will eventually favor us.”
The result certainly favored the Red on this occasion. Eight minutes after halftime, senior striker Matthew Goncalves finished off a lightning quick series of passes to give Cornell a four goal advantage. A late surge from Canisius wasn’t enough to change the result, as Cornell took the game, 4-2. The final score could have been even better for the Red, though. Canisius’ goalkeeper Jack Petrie had to make five saves on the night from 20 Cornell shots, with nine of them on target.
Despite a positive start to the year, the Red acknowledge that it has to keep getting better as the season moves on. Friedberg commented on the importance of this mentality of continued improvement.
“Going forward, we expect to just keep on improving,” Friedberg said. “We know where our strengths are and we know where we need to get better — it’s super important that each week we take a step forward individually and collectively.”
Cornell will look to continue this upward trajectory on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Baltimore where it has a tough matchup against UMBC (3-0-1, 0-0 America East), before its home opener on Sept. 19 against No. 4 Syracuse (3-0-2, 0-0-1 ACC).