At home, men’s soccer sweeps Nike Fall Classic using a ‘team-first’ mentality

The men’s soccer team continued their early season success by winning the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Nike Fall Classic the weekend of Sept. 10.

The Classic, hosted by the Catamounts at Centennial Field, was a three-day event that was comprised of  Vermont, University of New Hampshire, Cornell University and Presbyterian College.

Vermont beat Presbyterian 4-0 on Friday, Sept. 10 and defeated Cornell 2-1 on Sunday, Sept. 12.

“Our team is just more of a team,” junior defenseman Yannick Lewis said. “We just fight for each other.”

The “team-first” mentality of the Catamounts was evident over the weekend as the team put together an impressive 4-0 barrage against Presbyterian and a comeback win against Cornell.

On Friday, Vermont used ball control and a relentless offensive attack as they rained down 17 shots on Presbyterian and got goals from senior Connor O’Brien, first year Scott Kisling and two goals from junior Nick O’Neill.

Sunday’s game saw an intense 2-1 come-from-behind victory for Vermont against a difficult Cornell team. In the 21st minute, Cornell’s Franck Onambele cleaned up a loose ball in front of the UVM net for 1-0 Cornell lead.

Six minutes later, Nick O’Neill sent a corner kick through the Big Red defense and found the foot of Yannick Lewis, who was able to find the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.

The game remained tied until the 65th minute when Connor O’Brien scored the winning goal off a rebound from a shot by senior Patrick Alonis. O’Brien was named offensive MVP for the tournament.

“Connor O’Brien always seems to be in the right place at the right time,” Vermont head coach Jesse Cormier said after the game.

“He really gave us that breathing room and the light at the end of the tunnel, and we fought to the end to get the result.”

The end result for Vermont is one of mental toughness. A comeback win against a difficult opponent is something that may not have been possible last year.

“I don’t know if this would have happened a year ago,” Cormier said. “I think we are a little tougher, more mentally tough. I think we went against a gritty opponent and we provided some grit, so that was good.”

Yannick Lewis was the defensive MVP of the tournament and he knows that, at this point in the season, consistency is crucial.

“We just have to continue this,” he said. “Our energy has been good throughout this tournament. Now we are just trying to be consistent, play the way we’ve been playing these past few days, bring it to the next tournament and get another tournament win.