Cats come out on top against Big Red

The University of Vermont Catamounts beats the Cornell University Big Red of the Ivy League 3-1 in front of 1,054 fans on a beautiful Friday afternoon at Centennial Field This 16th Annual 2006 Smith Barney Nike Classic opening round matchup started off slow, and a bit sloppy for both sides. “There was not much tempo or flow to start the game”, head coach Jesse Cormier said. He attributed the nervousness and tension to the fact that it was the home opener. However tension was soon eased and nervousness quickly turned to excitement at the 6:58 mark in the first half when freshman T.J. Gore found the back of the net on a nice cross in the box from sophomore midfielder Jake McFadden to put Vermont on top 1-0. The play was set up when sophomore forward Jordan Crasilneck controlled a ball outside the 18 yard box and made a spectacular pass to McFadden. For Gore, his first career goal as a Catamount comes the day after his 19th birthday. “It was a good feeling, hopefully one of many this season,” said Gore after the game. Vermont controlled the pace of the game throughout the contest. The speed of the Catamounts offense coupled with a solid performance from a veteran back line anchored by co-captains senior Corey Bronner and junior Panos Georgiadis made it difficult for the Big Red to amount any offense. The few times they were able to sneak through, goalkeeper Roger Scully was up to the challenge, making key saves when needed, especially late in the second half when he denyed a break away attempt by Cornell’s Dana Flanders. Scully made 4 saves in the game. While most of the game was played in Big Red territory, Vermont was not able to add another goal in the first half. “We should have had more go in tonight, it was just unlucky, but it was a good start and there is more to come,” forward Tyler Hasman said. That all changed when a mistake deep in their own end cost the Big Red. A ball played back to goalkeeper Steve Lester was misplayed and Crasilneck was there to clean up and score on an empty net. The goal, which came in the 72nd minute, was the first of the season for Crasilneck and gave the Catamounts a 2-0 advantage. Vermont’s play became a little sloppy late, and Cornell was able to brake through late in the half with a goal by Flanders in the 85th minute. The goal came off of a turnover by Scully deep in the Catamount’s zone and tightening the game at 2-1. “We have got work to do, we showed youth and inexperience at time, and we want to have more consistency.” Coach Cormier added after the game, “We need to raise the standards.” However as quickly the Big Red were back in the game, Vermont sealed the deal with a breakaway goal but Hasman. The junior beat the Cornell defense to a ball played by Georgiadis and toed it past Lester. The goal, his second of the season, came in the 86th minute and gave the Cats a commanding 3-1 lead. “There was a strong back clear and it was a race for the ball, I was just in the right place at the right time” Tyler said of his goal afterwards. The win propels Vermont to 2-1-2 on the season, and drops Cornell to 0-2-1. The Nike Smith Barney Classic concludes Sunday when the Catamounts battle the 23rd ranked team in the nation Central Connecticut (2-1-1) who was defeated by New Hampshire (3-0-2), 2-0 earlier Friday afternoon.