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Grinnell men’s soccer ends season with loss to Cornell College

Cory Hall
Captain Sam Naik storms down the field as Illinois College players challenge him. Contributed by Ted Schultz.


This past Saturday, the Grinnell men’s soccer team came to a bittersweet end with a 3-1 loss to Cornell College. Fifth-years Jasper Yang ‘22 and Sam Naik ‘22 reflected on their otherwise successful season and their overall time with the team.

Reflecting on Saturday’s game, forward and team captain Yang said, “There was a lot of build-up to it because it was a tournament game and it was what we had been building up to all season.”

Cornell College scored two goals within the first three minutes of the game. “It kind of caught us off-guard,” Yang said. Sam Naik, midfielder, added, “I thought going into the game we were really competitive with them but it was just a really unfortunate start and it was tough to get back from there.”

“I’d say we dominated the whole game besides those two minutes, it just didn’t go our way.” Naik agreed and said, “Right after those goals we regrouped and I thought we were the better team for a good portion of it and they really weren’t attacking us at all, we were attacking them for most of the game.”

In the middle of the game, Grinnell “gave up another goal on a counterattack” from Cornell, making the score 3-0. In the last minute of the game, Noah Guyton ‘23 scored a goal for Grinnell, making the final score 3-1.

Still hurting from the Cornell loss, both Yang and Naik looked back fondly on the 2021 season and their time in Grinnell soccer. In fact, the two decided to return for a fifth year largely because of soccer.

Yang said, “I would’ve taken any outcome this year because with COVID and everything I’m just happy to be playing another year.”

After the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID, Naik decided to take the fall semester off. “A big part of it [his return] was soccer, for sure.” Though he was injured for most of the back half of the season, Naik said, “even just the first part of the season when I got to play was worth coming back for.”

Thinking back on this season, Naik said, “We had a disappointing season before COVID and I think we had so much time to think about it and work hard and be ready to come back.” After the long-awaited return to campus, Naik said “The attitudes were just really good. Everyone wasn’t taking anything for granted. Every practice, everyone was just excited to be out there and excited to work hard.”

After this season ended, Yang was in a contemplative mood. “I’ve obviously been very sad for the past few days but I’ve also had a lot to reflect on. My experience here was so incredible, that’s why it’s so sad for it to be over.”

Yang’s fondest memory from this season was Grinnell’s game against Lawrence, because not only did “we have a really good win,” but Yang’s family flew out from Massachusetts and California to see him play. “I enjoyed just about everything,” Yang said.

Naik cited Grinnell soccer as a phenomenal part of his Grinnnell experience. “I find myself missing playing in that context but I keep telling myself there’s more ways to play soccer after this,” he said.

Overall, Naik said, “I hope the biggest legacy is that everyone works hard and tries to be a positive part of the Grinnell community as a whole.”

Now that their seasons are over, both Naik and Yang hope to leave a positive legacy for the soccer team—on and off the field. ““I hope on the field people continue to work hard no matter who they are, no matter how talented they are,” Naik said.

Yang hopes the team continues “holding each other accountable for being good people and making good decisions.” He added that the team has “always been a really good community with lots of friendships and mentorships.”

In fact, Yang said he has recently been in contact with Grinnell soccer alums and former mentors. He said, “It’s been nice to reflect and it’s been an incredible time.”

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Allison Moore
Allison Moore, Staff Writer
Allison is a fourth-year gender, women's, and sexuality studies major from Granville, Ohio. In her spare time, she can be found crafting, cooking, and cuddling with her kitten, Koda. If you think her mini crossword is too hard, then too bad.
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