Sports

Quakers shake m. soccer out of top 25

By
Sports Editor
Thursday, November 5, 2009

The men’s soccer team (8-2-5, 3-2-0 Ivy) dropped out of the top 25 after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Penn (6-6-3, 2-2-1 Ivy) Sunday afternoon at Stevenson Field. Despite outshooting the Quakers 24-12, the Bears could not overcome an early score in the opening 15 minutes of play.

“We played poorly individually and as a whole — there’s no way of hiding it,” said co-captain David Walls ’11. “We weren’t as creative on offense, and we failed to compete on defense. It was disappointing to lose a very important game.”

Heading into the game, the Bears had tallied only two goals in their last three games, including a 1-0 shutout loss to Harvard.

The Quakers jumped on the Bears early, attacking the defense by stringing together a series of shots that barely missed the net. Aaron Ross created the first shot of the game when he narrowly missed a header in the first minute of play. Another missed shot at seven minutes eventually led to the Quakers’ deciding goal at the 14:46 mark. Loukas Tasigianis waited patiently at the back post, received a cross, and tapped in a goal at the lower right corner past keeper Paul Grandstrand ’11.

Evan Coleman ’12 and Austin Mandel ’12 created several great looks on goal at the 23- and 24-minute marks, respectively, but could not find the back of the net. Walls developed another scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute but failed to convert as well. Garon Smith held his own in net for the Quakers. He stopped three shots in the first half to prevent the Bears from tying up the game, heading into the break with a 1-0 lead.

“We had a lot of ‘half chances’ in the game,” Walls said. “When we got in decent positions, we made bad technical mistakes.”

The Bears offensive struggles continued in the second half as they failed to score the equalizer on 14 second-half opportunities. The shot chart showed a dominant offense, but the Brown attack was not at the same level of intensity as earlier games in the season, such as a 5-0 win over URI on Sept. 19 and a 4-2 win against Princeton on Oct. 10.

Mandel led the Bears with five shots, while Walls and Thomas McNamara ’13 each added four to the total. Walls managed to create two shots on goal to lead the team. Grandstrand (7-2-5) recorded two saves but suffered his second loss of the season, both coming in Ivy League action against Harvard and Penn.

“The most concerning thing is not that we haven’t scored but that our offensive execution is not where it needs to be at this point in the season,” Walls said. “We remember how well we were playing at the beginning of the season. We’ve stopped doing the things that brought us success earlier, and we need to put back in the technical stuff and put together a refocused attacking mentality. We’re going to start scoring again soon.”

No. 12 Harvard defeated Dartmouth last weekend and sits alone at the top of the Ivy League with one loss. Dartmouth sits tied in second with Brown with only two games remaining on the schedule. The last two games will be critical in the team’s search for an Ivy title and a postseason berth. The Bears travel to Yale on Saturday for their final regular season road game of the year in hopes of avenging a 2-0 loss last season before returning back to Providence to honor the senior class in the last home match of the year.

“We realized we had worked so hard to put ourselves in a fantastic position, but we failed to capitalize on the opportunity,” Walls said. “We’re fortunate enough to have two games left. The loss wasn’t a disaster because it wasn’t the last game of the season where we would be forced to wait another nine months. Our focus will be on the performance and not the result, and we’ll bounce back with full confidence in our ability to win as a team.”