Men’s Soccer: A Weekly Recap
Cornell Men’s Soccer head coach John Smith and company devised a testing non-conference schedule for the Big Red. Cornell, now 0-6-2, emerged on the wrong side of two CU Inaria Classic matches against St. Francis and New Hampshire before falling to No. 2 Syracuse. With the Ivy League schedule just around the corner, many positives can be taken away from last week regardless of the squad’s winless campaign thus far.
9/16 vs. Saint Francis
Cornell junior, Jonathan Cullom, made the most impactful substitute appearance of the early season on Friday at Berman Field in Ithaca, NY. Saint Francis’ Mario Mastrangelo netted the opener early, and his team maintained the majority of the possession until Cornell won a free kick from around 25 yards out in the 86th minute. Cullom stood over the ball confidently and deposited a clever ground shot into the bottom left-hand corner to equalize the game. Heading into bonus soccer, the Big Red appeared a revitalized and confident team, as Cornell dominantly controlled the first half of extra time. Unfortunately for the home team, a mere 13 seconds passed in overtime number two before the game was over. Pedro Neto of the Red Flash found the back of the net on a rebound for a golden goal victory.
A hard-fought loss for the Big Red was encouraging. Ryan Shellow started his second game in goal and was superb. The freshman shot-stopper had nine saves, several of which occurred prior to the Cullom equalizer and kept Cornell within striking distance. The chemistry between freshman attackers Brady Dickens and George Pedlow also looked to be improving. In addition, Austin Ashley entered the game midway through the first half after Ryan Watters suffered an injury, and the CU defense remained solid for the rest of the game.
Goals: St Francis (Mastrangelo 8’, Neto 101’), Cornell (Cullom 86’)
Seven cautions were given throughout the match, including four to Big Red players (Gerlach 15’, Black 39’, Kopko 53’, Pedlow 82’).
9/18 vs. New Hampshire
New Hampshire won the CU Inaria Classic on Sunday after their 2-0 victory over the Big Red. A game dominated by the Wildcats in terms of possession saw its first goal in the 29th minute via an awarded penalty kick. Cornell did look positive prior to the PK, but it was all New Hampshire following the head official’s decision. The Wildcats added their second goal in the 78th minute, and the Big Red conceded 12 corner kicks, while only attempting five. The game appeared much closer than the two goals and corner count indicate, but New Hampshire was far too comfortable on the ball after taking the early lead.
The development on the left side between Cornell captains Eric Nuss and Zach Bialik was not rewarded with a goal, but the pair attacked well together. Nuss has developed a great knack for pushing forward and picking the right times to overlap. Bialik pressured well and created several chances for the Big Red. Another man causing problems for the Wildcats’ back line was Duff Bedrosian. He had two shots and one on goal, which was deflected behind the net for a corner. However, the most impressive component that the midfielder displayed was his confidence in possession. Some of the best solo runs in the game were created by number 6 in the red and white.
Goals: New Hampshire (Wingate 29’ PK, Dickson 78’)
One yellow card caution for the Wildcats.
9/21 vs. Syracuse
For the better part of 12 minutes during the later stages of the first half, Cornell looked as if an upset could be in store for the fans at Berman Field. A marvelous long ball from Riley Adams found George Pedlow on the right side of the Syracuse 18-yard box. The young striker slotted it home through the keeper’s legs, giving Pedlow a team-leading two goals during his freshman campaign.
A Syracuse corner followed with an unfortunate clearance by the Big Red led to the first goal for the Orange. Center back Miles Robinson converted a header from close range in the 44th minute. Just moments into the second half, Syracuse scored once more via Liam Callahan. He was the most dangerous player on the pitch all night, constantly sending dangerous crosses into the box and wreaking havoc down the left wing. Therefore, it was no surprise that Callahan found a goal for himself, but any player could have scored for the Orange, as the visitors launched an astonishing 29 efforts toward goal. The final goal for Syracuse was netted by Jonathan Hagman in the 73rd minute.
After finding the lead, Cornell devastatingly gave it right back before the halftime whistle was blown. Letting a team like the Orange hang around proved to be deadly, as the Big Red dropped their third straight match. Scoring and creating chances against a top defense will prove useful for Cornell when the team moves into its final non-conference game on Tuesday at Virginia, another nationally ranked opponent. Spencer Kopko seemed excited to play his old school and threw together a very solid performance in the backline for the Big Red. At times, the Cornell defensive shape looked encouraging and stymied the Orange’s mighty attack, shutting out their leading scorer, Chris Nanco. Tommy Griffin and Madison Heck each worked hard in the midfield as both defenders and attackers. Meanwhile, Jack Ferguson came on and showed that he can win areal duels in addition to controlling the possession up front against a battle-tested defense that only allowed 0.43 goals per game prior to the match.
Goals: Syracuse (Robinson 44’, Callahan 51’, Hagman 73’), Cornell (Pedlow 32’)
One yellow card was awarded to the Big Red’s Chris St. Germain (84’).