Sports

Bears choke after taking down Gamecocks

By
Assistant Sports Editor
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The men’s soccer team had a weekend of highs and lows down south, defeating the University of South Carolina 2-0 in a thrilling night game before falling to the University of Kentucky 5-1.

 

Brown 2, South Carolina 0

The Bears kicked off the Gamecock Classic Friday night with a matchup against host school South Carolina. The Gamecocks (2-4-1) boast a reputation for hosting a rowdy home crowd, and the game had a restless feel as South Carolina sought to avenge their 1-0 loss last season to the Bears at Stevenson Field.

“The night games are always exciting,” said Ryan McDuff ’13. “There’s a huge crowd energy, and the environment is great.”

But the Bears gave South Carolina fans little opportunity to cheer as first-year goalie Alex Carr ’15 earned his second shutout of the season with three saves on the night.

T.J. Popolizio ’12 scored both of Bruno’s goals, the first in the 25th minute and the second just two minutes into the second half. Popolizio currently leads the team in goals and has scored six times in the last five games, with three goals this weekend. He was named Ivy League Player of the Week for his recent goal streak.

“He has always been a hard worker,” McDuff said of Popolizio. “He’s a two-sport athlete, which says a lot about his commitment and his effort. He’s had amazing growth since last year. He went from being a spark plug off the bench and has transitioned to playing every game.”

 

Brown 1, Kentucky 5

The Bears concluded their weekend with a match-up against Kentucky (6-2-1) Sunday morning. Despite being held on the same field, the game had a distinctly different feel from Friday night.

“It’s a totally different atmosphere and experience playing a night game against the host of the tournament and playing at 11 a.m. on a Sunday,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “Friday night, we were mentally and physically prepared and focused on the game, and our performance showed that. On Sunday, none of those qualities were there for us. Kentucky just outcompeted us.”

The Wildcats dictated the tempo from the start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead by the 26th minute. Bruno was able to respond with a goal from Popolizio in the 77th minute, narrowing the deficit to one. But shortly after, “the wheels fell off,” McDuff said. Kentucky piled on three goals in the final 11 minutes of the game to run away with the victory.

The Wildcats allowed Bruno to make unforced errors because they applied less pressure on the Bears.

“They laid back, and that wasn’t something we’ve dealt with before,” he said. “A lot of teams typically like to press us. These guys let us keep possession of the ball, and we didn’t move the ball as efficiently as we should have.”

The Bears will look to bounce back from the disappointing loss when they take on Boston University in front of a home crowd Friday at 7 p.m.

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