Tyler Regan dribbles past Yale defenders to score a goal for the Red. Photo by Celeste Cirillo-Penn.
By Celeste Cirillo-Penn
The Cornell Men’s Soccer team defeated Yale 3-0 on Saturday in a game that not only preserved their undefeated record, but also broke the previous attendance record of 983 at Berman field. The Red took to the field in front of a crowd of 1,121 to claim their 12th straight victory, bringing their record to 12-0-0 (3-0-0 in the Ivy League).
“It’s wonderful to have so many people come out and support us, and it really helped us to get the win today,” sophomore midfielder, Atticus DeProspo, said. “I absolutely give a lot of credit to the fans. We really felt the momentum swing because of those cheers we heard throughout the second half and throughout the whole game … It was really nice to have them here and to break the Berman record, so hopefully that continues for the rest of the season as well.”
Following a scoreless first half that featured stout defending from both squads, Cornell ramped up the intensity in the second half. Within seconds of an injury to Conor Goepel with 26 minutes to go, the Reds charged down the field to score their first goal of the match, a header by senior forward, Tyler Regan.
“When someone goes down you rally,” Regan said. “I don’t know if it was a coincidence, and Yale was getting tired and we were getting energized … but it definitely sparked something.”
Regan headed the ball past Yale keeper, Bobby Thalman, to put Cornell up 1-0.
“Its everyone going up and not giving Yale a clean header,” Regan said of the goal. “I got lucky. I put the ball up, and it went in. I chipped a 6’5” keeper. I mean it wasn’t on purpose.”
After a multitude of other shots on goal, Cornell scored its second goal with 14 minutes remaining. Nico Nissl passed the ball to DeProspo, who sent it sailing into the back of the net.
“It was a great team effort to get the ball up the field. Yale is a very good team. It was hard to break through the pressure, but we did a really good job and started to get the momentum,” DeProspo said. “I was taking a shot far back post, and it deflected and went in.”
Senior forward, Daniel Haber capped off the night with a goal off of a penalty kick, awarded for a Yale handball with 9 minutes left in the game. Yale tried to make a comeback in the remaining minutes, but failed to put one past the Cornell keeper, Rick Pflasterer, who recorded a shutout for the Red.
Daniel Haber’s shot sails past Yale Goalkeeper, Bobby Thalman. Photo by Celeste Cirillo-Penn.
Despite the victory, Cornell Coach, Jaro Zawislan, praised Yale’s effort.
“Going into this game we knew it was going to be a very very difficult game, not only this being an Ivy League game, but it is a quality opponent,” Zawislan said. “When they have space and time they can keep the possession. They broke our pressure a few times. We needed to step up our game.”
However, Zawislan maintains that the Red’s attitude is what allowed them to prevail.
“We all know that every time we step onto the field we have to earn that result,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it is 11 wins, 12 wins that doesn’t buy us any goals on the scoreboard at the beginning of the next game. With this attitude we are able to maintain this momentum and keep building on this momentum, and that will be key moving forward.”
With the mounting success, however, more talk has turned to the national tournament; nevertheless, for the squad, the focus still remains on the Ivy League tournament.
“That has to be always the number one goal because by winning the Ivy League Championship, you win the automatic bid, and that is the most assured way of going into the national tournament,” Zawislan said. “Yes, in the mean time with every win, with every good result, we are putting the body of work together for a possible at large bid. But we are not going to look at it at this time.”
The players share this focus.
“We’re not happy with 3-0 because we’ve been here before, and we had a let up,” Regan said. “In the Ivies we were 3-0 last year, and we finished with a loss and three ties, so we don’t think we’ve accomplished anything yet.”
Consequently for the team, the focus has immediately shifted to the Brown game, on Saturday October 20, which is shaping up to be a crucial battle in the Ivy League standings.
“Tonight the players are going to enjoy this win,” Zawislan said. “Tomorrow back to work, and we start our preparation for the Brown game, which will be a very crucial game for Ivy League outcomes.”