Sports

Bruno ends five-game losing streak, then falls to Harvard

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, October 26, 2012

The women’s soccer team ended a five-game losing streak with its first Ivy League victory of the season last Sunday over Cornell but fell to Harvard Wednesday outside of league play.
With their 1-0 win over Cornell (1-12-1, 0-4-1 Ivy), the Bears (7-7, 1-4) rose to sixth in the league standings and pushed Cornell to the bottom. Wednesday’s non-conference game against Harvard ended in a 1-0 overtime victory for the Crimson (8-4-3, 2-2-1 Ivy).
Sunday’s shutout over Cornell was Bruno’s seventh of the season, which Head Coach Phil Pincince said gives reason to be positive about the team.
“When you talk about seven shutouts and a relatively new backfield, (it’s) pretty promising,” Pincince said. “I’m pretty excited about that.”
The Bears put relentless offensive pressure  on the Big Red early in the game, and that led to the game’s only goal in the 10th minute of play. Eliza Marshall ’13 dribbled past her defender on the left flank and hit Siegelman in the middle of the box. With the Big Red’s defense caught on the other side of the field, Mika Siegelman ’14 quickly passed to the right, setting up Louisa Pitney ’14 to send the ball into the back of the net.
Just before that, Allie Reilly ’15 created the first scoring chance of the game in the seventh minute. Reilly caught a low clearance from the Big Red defense and passed to Pitney on the right flank. Pitney was free, but a Cornell defender just managed to slide in and block the shot.
One minute later, Siegelman managed to dribble past her marker towards the goal line. She sent a ground cross through the 6-yard box, but no one managed to put it in.
Cornell’s only significant shot of the first half came from Maneesha Chitanvis in the 15th minute. She received the ball off a corner kick and sent it just above the goal.
The rest of the first half did not provide many opportunities. Both sides struggled to link long series of passes, and the ball spent much of the time bouncing from one defense to the other.
The Big Red hardly threatened goalkeeper Amber Bledsoe ’14. Even on a set piece after a foul in the 34th minute, Cornell passed the ball poorly and lost possession before getting a shot off.
The Bears appeared relatively at ease getting past the Cornell defenders. This was especially true of Marshall, a forward, who often managed to outrun Cornell’s right back on her attacks down the flank.
At the end of the first half, the Bears found themselves ahead for the first time in a month.
The Bears began to have difficulty connecting their passes in the second half. Both teams had many mishits and inaccurate passes, resulting in a half with many throw-ins, turnovers and clearances, and few scoring opportunities.
Cornell’s best chance of the match came in the 65th minute. Chitanvis darted past her marker to send a low cross into the area. Caroline Growney one-timed it but sent it wide.
Toward the end of the match, Chloe Cross ’15 had three successive opportunities. The first came from a free kick about 30 yards out in the 79th minute. Goalkeeper Tori Christ stretched her whole 5’4″ frame to fly across the goal and get her fingertips on it, and the ball ricocheted off the post.
Less than a minute later, Cross had another chance at a free kick and sent it bouncing off the crossbar.
In the 82nd minute, Cross received a through ball between two defenders and sprinted after it into the box. She cut the defender and sent a strong shot towards the goal, which Christ managed to defend.
In the last two minutes of play, the Bears trapped the ball by the corner flag, waiting for time to run out. Cornell did not manage any more shots, and the Bears secured their first Ivy League victory of the season.
“I know that we had a major bump to deal with, the losing streak, but I was glad about what took place today,” Pincince said. “I’m real happy for my players for what they accomplished.”
Pitney also said it felt good to finally get an Ivy win. “We were playing strong, and I had confidence,” she said.
The Bears tried to bring that strong play to their midweek non-conference game at Harvard but could not manage another successful result.
The two squads faced off two weeks ago in a matchup that ended with a 4-1 Crimson victory in Providence. But while the first game was very much dominated by Harvard, this week saw a more even contest.
Both teams had a similar number of opportunities, with Bruno taking 14 shots and Harvard managing 13. Each side’s goalie registered five saves.
The game-winning goal eluded both teams until overtime. In the 92nd minute, Harvard sent a corner kick high and to the far post. The ball found Brooke Dickens, who headed it downwards into the middle of the box. In the middle of a tight scrum, with six players from each squad inside the 6-yard box, Elizabeth Weisman managed to kick the ball into the corner of the goal, winning the match for the Crimson. The victory marked the 250th career win for Harvard’s Head Coach Ray Leone, who is in his sixth season with the Crimson.
Going into the last three games of the season, Pitney said she hopes the Bears will “finish off strong, win the rest of our games so we can get a winning season.”
Pincince agreed with Pitney’s aims for the final weeks and recalled the team’s strong start to the season. “Hopefully, we can continue how we started,” he said. “That would be awesome for this group.”
The Bears will return to Ivy League play this Saturday when they travel to face Penn (8-5-1, 4-1), currently third in the conference.