Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.
Ithaca, N.Y. — Freshman Eric Nuss looked up for just a brief second as he made his way down the field late into the second half.
Sebastian Scales met the searching eyes of Nuss, and began to make his run. After receiving a nice feed from Nuss just outside the attacking third, Scales used his crafty ball control and finesse to elude a Siena defender, getting deep into the box. Siena’s Danilo Markovic, the anchor of the Saints’ backline, had no choice but to concede the penalty, setting the stage for a Conor Goepel penalty kick.
Although penalty kicks can be unpredictable, the senior would come through in the clutch. As he has done throughout his entire Cornell career, Goepel embraced the big moment, sending a perfectly placed shot just inside the right post, rewarding the fans at Berman Field for braving the cold.
The goal was Goepel’s ninth career game-winner, moving him into 2nd place in program history for match-clinching scores. Referring to the midfielder’s three goals this season, coach Jaro Zawislan acknowledged that while Goepel has been individually impressive, the whole team deserves credit:
“His stats are really the outcome of a great team effort,” Zawislan said. “Without such a superb defensive showing from the team, he wouldn’t have all those opportunities to score those game-winning goals.”
Coming into the match, the Big Red knew that it faced a challenge against a very skilled, perhaps even underrated, Saints squad.
Siena’s relentless attack and strong keeper play had them off to their best start in the program’s 41 year history, but Cornell’s backline, powered by strong performances from captain Devin Morgan and keeper Zach Zagorski, held steady.
With two remarkable stops from Zagorski, and numerous critical clears from Morgan, the Big Red were able to force their fourth clean sheet of the season.
“I really have to attribute a lot of my success to my keeper in the back, Zach Zagorski,” Morgan said. “He was talking to me the entire game and he always kept me in the right position.”
While coach Jaro was pleased with the victory, he emphasized that there was still plenty of room for improvement. Yet it’s hard not to be impressed by another good result for Cornell against a quality opponent. With three wins in their last four matches, things are starting to come together for the Big Red, and that bodes well for their season prospects.
NOTES: This was the opening match of the CU Inaria Classic. Cornell will look to finish the tournament strong on Sunday, when the Big Red will welcome Farleigh Dickinson to Berman Field. Cornell is now 3-2-1 overall.
Video sponsored by Ithaca Family Chiropractic