Tyler Regan fights to maintain possession of the ball.  Photo by Celeste Cirillo-Penn.

By Celeste Cirillo-Penn

The Cornell Men’s Soccer team’s undefeated streak ended last week with a tough loss to Ivy League opponent, Brown.  However, at Berman Field on Saturday, the men rebounded to beat Princeton 1-0, improving their record to 13-1 (4-1 in the Ivy League).

“Sometimes you need a hard loss like that to wake you up, and show you that it’s not going to be a perfect season,” junior, forward Daniel Haber said.  “We’re going to have to work hard for every win.  We are better than the team that came out against Brown, and we were able to show it.  It wasn’t our best game but it was an improvement.”

The game got off to a fast paced start with both Cornell and Princeton taking shots on goal in the first half.  The defenses held strong in a physical matchup that saw yellow cards given to both sides.  Despite the intensity, the half ended in a scoreless draw.

At halftime, Cornell Head Coach, Jaro Zawislan, rallied the Red.

“We just had to raise the level of play, clean up a couple of things on both sides, attacking and defending,” Zawislan said.

The team did just that, netting a goal 2 minutes into the second half.  Junior midfielder and forward, Stephen Reisert charged down the field to find Haber waiting in the penalty box.  Haber shot far post, sending the ball sailing past Princeton goalkeeper, Seth MacMillan, and into the back of the net.

“Stephen Reisert got the ball and made a great run.  I was waiting for the ball, waiting for the ball, and just tried to stay onside,” Haber said.  “It was a great pass and I was able to put it in.”

Daniel Haber puts the pressure on Princeton’s defenders.  Photo by Celeste Cirillo-Penn.

Despite the goal, the game was far from over.  On a few occasions, Cornell looked sure to widen the lead, but Princeton’s defense held strong.  With time close to expiring, Princeton put the pressure on the Red with numerous set pieces and crosses into the box.  Cornell fought off a last gasp effort that saw the Princeton keeper charge forward to help on offense as time ran out.

“Sometimes you have to grind out that result at the end of the game and that’s what our team did,” Zawislan said.  “It wasn’t just purely soccer ability.  It was also character of the team, staying focused all the way through the last play.  They [Princeton] had the long throw-in with a few seconds left, and [we] had to come through even at that moment.  That’s what we pride ourselves on, playing one play at a time from the first to the last play of the game.”

The victory puts the Red back on track in the hunt for an Ivy League title.  However, earning that title will not be easy, with Brown still sitting atop the standings and only two more games left to play.

“At this point in the Ivy League season you have to keep getting results,” Zawislan said.  “Any result but a win practically can eliminate you from the competition for the Ivy League Championship because you start running out of the games where you can gain the points, and the other teams are running out of the games where they can lose the points.”

For this reason, the men will enjoy their hard-fought victory, but must immediately shift their focus to the crucial matchup at home against Dartmouth next week.