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Cornell University Athletics | October 5, 2022

Cornell men's soccer upsets No. 7 Syracuse after entering top-25 rankings for first time in 2022

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – As the Cornell men's soccer team boarded the bus for its one-hour trip to Syracuse, the United Soccer Coaches released its weekly soccer poll which featured the Big Red for the first time in 2022.

A week after receiving just four votes, Cornell entered the top 25 at No. 22, marking the second consecutive year and the third time in the last four years of competition that the Big Red have been ranked in the poll.

On Tuesday night, at a brisk SU Soccer Stadium, eyes around the country may have been opened wider to the No. 22-ranked Big Red squad as Cornell upset No. 7 Syracuse, 2-1.

Matthew Goncalves was the lone Big Red player to get on the scoresheet as the first Cornell goal came on a Syracuse own goal.

LATEST RANKINGS: Click or tap here to view the latest United Soccer Coaches poll

Ryan Friedberg made five saves to earn his eighth victory of the season, establishing the program's single-season freshman wins record.

"I couldn't be more proud," said John Smith, the Dr. Daniel P. Wood Head Coach of Men's Soccer. "We said before the game, 'Let's bring our identity,' which is sweat, courage, and working hard, and we did."

Cornell's back line of Nick Allen, Andrew Johnson, Cam Maquat, and Connor Drought were strong throughout the match. The Big Red defense keeping Syracuse's offense at bay for majority of the contest and helping Friedberg out by blocking six of the Orange's 17 shot attempts.

"We celebrate blocked shots just as much as we celebrate goals," Smith said. "Some of the guys sacrificing their bodies, some great saves from Ryan, it's hard to keep a team like [Syracuse] out. To have done that, away from home, is a testament to not just the back five but the whole group."

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The Big Red quieted the crowd early as Cornell jumped ahead in the 13th minute thanks to a Syracuse own goal. Connor Drought played a cross from the left flank inside the 8-yard box which pinballed off a Syracuse defender and their goalkeeper, Russell Shealy, before the ball slowly crossed the goal line.

Noel Ortega and Emeka Eneli had the Big Red's two shots on goal in the first half. Giona Leibold had the lone shot on goal for the Orange in the opening 45 minutes.

In the 67th minute, Goncalves was fouled inside the 18-yard box, leading to a Cornell penalty kick. On the attempt, Goncalves stutter stepped, forcing Shealy to dive to his left and Goncalves' right-footed strike went the opposite way of the keeper to put the Big Red ahead by two goals.

After the penalty kick goal, Syracuse tried its best to get back into the game, peppering Friedberg with all nine of its shot attempts in the half. The freshman goalkeeper made four of his five saves over the final 17-plus minutes.

A foul by Cornell inside the 18-yard box with 17 seconds left led to a Syracuse penalty kick, which was converted by Nathan Opoku.

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