NEW YORK - The Columbia men's soccer team will host the 14th-ranked Cornell Big Red Saturday in its final regular-season matchup of the 2012 season. Prior to the 7 p.m. contest, the Lions will honor its five seniors: Ifiok Akpandak, Quentin Grigsby, Brendan O'Hearn, Nick Scott and Will Young.
The Lions will have the opportunity to play the role of spoiler, as Cornell enters Saturday's game as one of three teams still in contention for the Ivy League title. The Big Red has 15 points, one ahead of second-place Brown and three up on Dartmouth. A total of seven scenarios remain to crown the Ivy League champion(s), with the automatic NCAA bid possibly being decided by way of tiebreaker.
Columbia's focus will be solely on the match against Cornell at the Columbia Soccer Stadium. The Lions are coming off a well-earned 1-0 victory on the road at Harvard this past Saturday. Kyle Jackson earned his third shutout of the season and fourth Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor following a six-save performance, while Grigsby notched the game-winner in the 37th minute.
Defensively, the Lions have been one of the hardest teams to score on of late. Over its last six contests, Columbia has only surrendered four goals, while also shutting out Penn, Princeton and Harvard. The Lions lone loss in that stretch was a 2-1 decision against Dartmouth, as Columbia has a 2-1-3 mark since Oct. 6.
Cornell comes into Saturday's game with a 14-1 overall mark and 5-1 record in Ivy League action. The Big Red's only blemish came on the road at Brown on Oct. 20 when the Bears topped Cornell 2-0. Since then, Cornell has defeated Princeton (1-0) and Dartmouth (2-1, ot) to remain atop the Ivy League standings.
The Big Red boasts one of the nation's top offensive threats in Daniel Haber. The junior is currently the nation's leader in points per game at 2.73. Haber has tallied 41 points (second nationally) on 17 goals (third) and seven assist in 15 games this season.
In a series that dates back to 1908, the Lions hold the all-time series lead, 31-19-9. Each of the last two meetings have ended in a stalemate, with the Lions last win against Cornell coming in the season finale of the 2008 campaign.