Cornell men’s soccer (8-4-3, 2-2-3 Ivy) came into last weekend’s matchups with its Ivy League Playoff hopes still alive. The Red needed Yale (8-5-3, 3-1-3 Ivy), who had already qualified, to beat Brown (5-4-7, 2-0-5 Ivy) and a win against bottom of the table Columbia (2-8-4, 0-5-2 Ivy) to secure qualification.
Unfortunately, with Cornell watching on, the Bulldogs were unable to break down a disciplined Brown defense, and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. This result put an end to what has been a very turbulent Ivy league playoff charge, highlighted by some great performances amidst quite a few bad ones. Despite their playoff chances being dashed, however, Cornell still had a game to play.
Possibly as a result of already being eliminated, the Red came out looking rather flat in the first half. However, as he has been most of the season, freshman forward Alex Harris was a bright spot, tallying three shots on target, but all three were stopped by Columbia goalkeeper Michael Collodi. The Lions also had a few chances, but were unable to put one on target, and the game went into the half 0-0.
In the second half, Cornell looked better, generating more opportunities and forcing Collodi into seven saves, as well as actually putting the ball in the net on two occasions before both were ruled out for offside. Columbia were completely ineffective, not able to put a shot on net, and the game ended scoreless.
Looking back, Cornell’s season was epitomized by a series of ups and downs. After an up and down start to the year, the Ivy League season started off poorly, before the Red went on an unbeaten run to the top of a contested table. With two games left, two scoreless performances sealed the Red’s Ivy fate, and the only hope for a continuation to the season is an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
One positive note for Cornell fans lies in exceptional performances from the team’s young players across the season. Along with top goal scorer Harris, freshmen Balazs Feher and Connor Miller were excellent in the midfield, with Feher getting crucial goals and assists during the late Ivy surge, and Miller providing most of the team’s ball progression with his dribbling and control in tight spaces. Meanwhile, at defense, sophomores center back Andrew Johnson and goalkeeper Ryan Friedberg will provide a solid foundation moving forward. Despite senior contributors such as Connor Drought and Matthew Goncalves most likely having played their last games in a Cornell jersey, the future of Cornell men’s soccer is in good hands.