Sports

M. soccer tears on undefeated

By
Assistant Sports Editor
Thursday, October 15, 2009

The No. 15 men’s soccer team (7-0-4, 2-0-0 Ivy) continued its winning streak with a 4-2 victory over Princeton on Saturday and a 3-1 win over Rutgers on Tuesday night. Four different Bears scored goals in the two contests, including two goals each from Sean Rosa ’12 and Nick Elenz-Martin ’10.

Brown 4, Princeton 2
The game against Princeton was very offensive-minded on both sides, similar to the Sept. 30 Boston University game that ended in a 3-3 tie. The Bears were led by Rosa, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, who contributed the first two goals of the game, and is now tied with Austin Mandel ’12 and Elenz-Martin as the leading goal scorer on the team with four.

“We did OK but didn’t play to our full potential,” said Ian Smith ’11.

The Bears came out ready to play, as Rosa scored in the game’s opening minutes on a pass to the middle of the box from Mike Manella ’12, nailing the ball to the lower right corner at the post.

The Tigers and the Bears played evenly through the next 30 minutes of play before Brown put together several strong offensive opportunities in the closing 10 minutes of the half. Jay Hayward ’12 and Rosa passed the ball back and forth to one another, away from their defenders, and were almost too unselfish as an extra pass ended the drive with seven minutes left. Taylor Gorman ’12 crossed a ball to a cutting TJ Thompson ’10 in front of the goal with five minutes remaining in the half, but this drive was also stopped by Princeton, as the ball was deflected out by the defense.

The Tigers extinguished Brown’s opportunities in the closing minutes of the first half, but the Bears came out just as offensive-minded in the opening minutes of the second.
“Our coach (Mike Noonan) gave us a fiery pep talk in the locker room and we came out with a renewed mindset,” Smith said. “We made a few adjustments and the goals came with it.”

Thompson crossed the ball over to Rosa, who opened the second with a rocket from the 20-yard line, a common spot in Rosa’s goal-scoring resume this season. A mere 20 seconds later, the set-up man for the night, Thompson, sent a cross from the right corner to a cutting Elenz-Martin, who connected on a header for his third goal of the season.
“We were ecstatic,” Smith said. “Teams react differently when they’re down and can let the game slip away. But Princeton never gave up, and we knew they wouldn’t.”

The Tigers responded immediately with a rally, as Matt Sanner scored on a header that floated over goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand ’11 and into the right corner of the net.

Jay Hayward ’12 extended Brown’s lead in the 64th minute when Rosa was fouled hard by a Princeton defender, giving Hayward a free kick from 35 yards out on the right side of the field. Hayward placed the ball perfectly over the three defenders who established a wall in front of him. The ball curved nicely into the right corner of the net, notching Hayward’s first career goal for the Bears. Hayward became the 11th player on the team to score a goal this season.

“The biggest part about staying in the lead was keeping the connection and communicating on defense,” Smith said. Princeton “created some chaos when they brought more players up for offensive opportunities, but we also had our own advantage when we sent the ball to the opposite side of the field for our own scoring chances.”

The referees called a foul in the penalty box on the Bears in the 69th minute, which led to a penalty kick by Brandon Busch, who sent the ball to the back of the net to pull the game to within two. But Brown squelched the Princeton rally in the game’s final 20 minutes and emerged victorious, 4-2.

Grandstrand (6-0-4) recorded five saves in the contest, while Princeton’s Sean Lynch recorded one save of the five shots on goal by the Bears.

Smith returned to the starting line-up for the first time this season after coming off a broken foot suffered during pre-season training. He was an integral part of the defense that prevented the Tigers from getting too close to the Bears on Saturday night.

“It was great to get back out there, but I was a little rusty,” Smith said. “It was great to get back in the line-up and fight out there with the guys.”

Brown 3, Rutgers 1
The Bears hoped to extend their winning streak Tuesday night in a tough non-conference battle against the Big East’s Rutgers (5-7-0).

The Scarlet Knights and the Bears came out hot in the first half, as each team tallied over 10 shots. Rutgers capitalized on offense first in the 18th minute, when Ibrahim Kamara sent a header into the goal past Jarrod Schlenker ’10, who started in goal for the Bears for the first time in his career. Schlenker and the defense tightened up and denied several scoring drives to keep the Bears in the game.

Rosa sent a pass to Thompson, who once again set up a goal for Elenz-Martin in the 37th minute of the half. The Bears finished out the first half with the momentum headed in their direction that would carry on into the second half.

Hayward lined up for a corner kick in the 62nd minute and sent a perfect ball right at the goal to Evan Coleman ’12. Coleman headed the ball to Thomas McNamara ’13, who connected on another header for the go-ahead goal. McNamara led Brown with five shots on the night, three of which were on goal.

With only a one-goal lead, the Bears kept the pressure on the Scarlet Knights and put together several more scoring drives in the games closing 30 minutes. Manella beat his defender in the 70th minute but fell to the ground on a hard hit by goalkeeper Alex Morgans that was not called a foul by the referee. Co-captain David Walls ’11 followed right behind Manella and put the ball away for a two-goal lead the Bears maintained to secure the 3-1 win.

Schlenker earned his first career win in goal with an outstanding seven saves to pace the defense that allowed one goal on 20 attempted shots.

Brown travels to No. 6 Harvard (8-2-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) on Saturday for its third Ivy League match of the year. Harvard nearly fell at Cornell on Saturday, fighting out a 1-1 tie, and is seeking to bounce back from a 0-4 loss against No. 17 Connecticut last night.

“With each game we play, we’re looking to solidify things,” Smith said. “We definitely wanted to stay on the winning side of things against Rutgers. Our team has confidence and some momentum after several positive results heading into our match against Harvard on Saturday.”