Men’s Soccer: Hitting The Pitch Running
In only his second year, head coach John Smith has coached Cornell Men’s Soccer to an already remarkable season, in which the team continues to dole out victories left and right. The Red are currently ranked in first place in the Ivy League (8-2 overall, 2-0 conference), while maintaining a five game win streak. On Saturday, the Red defeated the Harvard Crimson in a 4-2 match spearheaded by a hat trick from Sophomore Charles Touche — the first of its kind in 6 years. Cornell’s victory pushes Harvard to 1-1 in conference play, a key drop in the rankings as only a handful of games remain.
Touche’s hat trick — later earning him Ivy League Player of the Week — while nearly all but unprecedented, is illustrative of something larger within the program: “although Coach Smith is new, he’s started to create a culture of hard work whereby players show up to practice each day and push each other and hold each other mutually accountable,” remarked Touche.
The Big Red’s success has not gone unnoticed, as the United Soccer Coaches poll ranked Cornell 25th in the nation. In order to further solidify its favorable ranking, Cornell prepares for a matchup tonight against non-conference regional competitor, Colgate University. The Colgate Raiders are notched four spaces above the Big Red on the national rankings, and boast a win streak of their own, defeating Lehigh, American, and Lafayette ahead of tonight’s matchup. “Although us and Colgate are pretty evenly matched, we’re hopeful going in. No matter the outcome, it will be a good experience and a test of where we’re at right now.” said Touche, coming off his first hat trick in Cambridge.
Rankings aside, Cornell must remain focused and approach each game in stride. Yet to play highly ranked Columbia and Princeton, as well as defending champions Dartmouth, the Ivy League season is far from over. Moreover, in a conference yet to implement a tournament, the importance of regular season victories are intensified. Cornell has seven remaining matches to prove that they are worthy of the Ivy League crown and a trip to Santa Barbara, California for the 2018 Division I Men’s Soccer National Championship.
Tonight’s Matchup is set for 7 P.M. in Hamilton, New York.