Sports

M. soccer comes off loss to beat Cornell

By
Assistant Sports Editor
Monday, October 26, 2009

The Cornell men were in dire need of an Ivy League soccer win Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y., but the No. 18 Brown men’s soccer team would not budge an inch.

With a golden goal by Thomas McNamara ’13 in the 71st minute, the Bears (8-1-5, 3-1-0 Ivy) put away the Big Red in a 1-0 win.

“We had a game plan, and we stuck to it,” said co-captain David Walls ’11. “We played well together which resulted in the hard fought win.”

The Bears entered the contest coming off a 1-0 loss at No. 11 Harvard last Saturday and a 1-1 tie against St. John’s on Tuesday night. The Big Red (5-5-4, 0-2-2) came with only one win in its last five games, including a 2-2 tie with Penn and a 1-1 tie with Harvard.

Brown started off the first half well with several good looks on goal, but Cornell’s Rick Pflasterer recorded five saves to prevent the Bears from taking the early advantage. Brown outshot Cornell 8-4 in the opening frame.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough game,” Walls said. “We played relaxed and were determined to come out well in the second half — optimistic and confident that the goal would eventually come.”

In the first half, the Bears attacked the Big Red’s defense more centrally, Walls said. The team headed in a different direction in the second half, focusing on a spread offense that attacked around the defenders instead of going through them like the team attempted in the first half. This renewed sense of the team’s game plan in the second half led to the decisive goal scored by McNamara in the 71st minute of play.

Sean Rosa ’12 found an opening after passing his defender down the right hand side. He crossed the ball to a wide open McNamara on the far post, who nailed in his third goal of the season for the Bears.

The defense, consisting of goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand ’11, Evan Coleman ’12, Ryan McDuff ’13, Dylan Remick ’13 and Ian Smith ’11, tightened up in the final 20 minutes of play and kept the Big Red off the scoreboard to preserve the lead for the 1-0 win, despite Cornell’s 3-2 shot advantage in the second half.

The defense played without Walls, who was out of the game with a concussion from Tuesday night’s match against St. John’s. Nick Elenz-Martin ’10 took over as captain for the night and represented his team well.

“He did a great job out there and has been a great leader this season,” Walls said. “He’s taken on a lot of leadership responsibilities, especially on our win over Cornell.”

Grandstrand tallied two saves on the night in his fifth shutout of the season. McNamara tallied three shots in the game in his 41 minutes of play, two of those on goal. Elenz-Martin, Mike Manella ’11 and Rosa each contributed another two shots to add to the teams total of 10 shots on the night.

This weekend, Harvard lost at home to Princeton, 2-1 in double overtime, and Dartmouth lost 2-0 to Columbia. Dartmouth had been the sole Ivy League team with no losses on the season, and the Big Green and the Crimson will battle it out next weekend in Cambridge, Mass., in a decisive match that will affect the Ivy standings. Brown still remains in the hunt for the conference crown despite its loss to Harvard.

“The good thing about this year is that we don’t care about other teams’ weekly performances,” Walls said. “We’ve been focused on our team and getting better with every game we play.”

The Bears return home to Stevenson Field Saturday at 1 p.m. when they take on Penn in their fifth Ivy League match of the season. After the matchup against Penn, the team travels to Yale the following weekend before finishing out the regular season at home against Dartmouth Nov. 15th, a game that will more than likely be the deciding game to determine the conference champion.

“Our team spirit and chemistry is now at its highest point this season,” Walls said. “We have three more opportunities to play together and get better. If we keep this up, we can have a real successful end to the season.”