Sports

Bulldogs bite Bruno in final games of season over weekend

By
Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

 

The women’s soccer team wrapped up its season with two games against Yale last week. The squad went winless, notching a 2-2 tie at home Thursday and a 1-0 loss in New Haven Sunday. 

Thursday’s match was the last conference game for both teams – the Bears (7-9-1, 1-5-1 Ivy) finished seventh in the league, right behind the sixth-place Bulldogs (8-7-2, 1-4-2 Ivy). 

Thursday’s game, broadcast nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel, was the last home game for seniors Eliza Marshall ’13, Diana Ohrt ’13 and Rachael Pack ’13, who all started the match.

“It’s been an awesome four years,” said Marshall, the team captain. “You get attached not only to (your teammates), but also to the program, sort of the tradition, the history. You start to identify with it over the years.”

“Leaving this means a lot,” Pack said. “And like (Marshall and Ohrt) said, we’re going to still be around.”

 

Brown 2, Yale 2 

In the 9th minute, Yale had the game’s first significant chance when Juliann Jeffrey’s shot was blocked by a sliding Emily Wingrove ’14.

After that, the Bears took control of the game, maintaining possession and keeping the ball in Yale’s defensive half. Their constant pressure on the Bulldogs almost paid off in the 15th minute, when Chloe Cross ’15 stole the ball and sent it flying into the hands of goalkeeper Rachel Ames.

In the 21st minute, Alison Mullin ’14 went to the endline and got a cross into the middle of the box to Marshall. Marshall got a touch on it but was knocked over by defender Christina Bradley. Before she could complain about a penalty, Cross came running in and volleyed the ball to the far side of the goal. Ames had no chance to get to it, and the Bears were the first on the scoreboard.

The goal was Cross’ fifth of the season, making her the Bears’ top scorer and ending her nine-game goal-scoring slump.

After the goal, the Bears took even greater control of the game. Cross had another chance in the 35th minute with a weak shot from outside the box, and Louisa Pitney ’14 hit the crossbar in the 37th minute after sending a powerful strikeover Ames.

The first half finished without many chances for the Bulldogs, who did not manage to get a single shot on target.

But that changed after the break. 

“I thought (Yale) had the better of play in the second half,” said Head Coach Phil Pincince.

In the 57th minute, Melissa Gavin forced goalie Amber Bledsoe ’14 to make her first save of the match with a left-footed kick from mid-range.

Four minutes later, Yale found the equalizer through Kristen Forster, who capitalized on a Shannon Conneely cross into the box from the left. The Bears’ defense tried to clear it but couldn’t get it outside the 18-yard box. Forster was waiting to send it flying at the goal, and though Bledsoe managed to get a hand on it, the volley was too strong and still found the back of the net.

The goal seemed to be just what Yale needed to come back. They took almost complete control of the game, establishing ownership of midfield. The Bulldogs continuously lifted the ball into the box, hoping for another mistake from Bruno’s defenders, who were unable to do much except clear it back out.

Yale’s dominance diminished as the game went on, and just when the match seemed to be even again, the Bulldogs scored another goal in the 79th minute. Frannie Coxe led a counterattack from the left and saw Gavin coming in through the middle. She lobbed it just over Bruno’s two central defenders, leaving Gavin one-on-one with Bledsoe. As Gavin took her shot, Bledsoe came out and was almost able to stop it, but once again the ball went into the goal, putting the Bulldogs ahead with just over 10 minutes left on the clock.

With not much time left, the Bears sent everyone forward and kept crossing the ball into the box. In the 86th minute, one of these attempts was successful. The Yale defenders failed to head it away, and the ball fell between two Bears. Kiersten Berg ’14 managed to get the tip of her foot on it while falling backwards, and the ball slowly bounced to the bottom left corner of the goal, with an off-balance Ames helpless to stop it.

Less than 20 seconds after restarting play, Bledsoe was forced to leave her line to try to intercept a quick Bulldog rush from the left. But the ball was played into the middle, where Forster hit the post of the empty goal from inside the six-yard box.

With the 2-2 tie, the game went into a heated overtime battle with both teams looking for their second conference victory on the year. Yale had six corners in the extra 20 minutes, all of which were played dangerously into the box. The Bears rose to the challenge with another four shots on target in overtime.

The last chance of the exciting overtime was in the 109th minute. Mika Siegelman ’14 carried the ball from midfield and executed a devastating cut to beat her marker, making room to send a through ball behind a Yale defender to Cross. Cross slid, trying to get a foot on it, but Ames reached it a moment too soon, leaving both teams with a tie in their conference game. 

The Bears had lost their two previous games in overtime, and Pincince said the team did well getting the equalizer in “a good Ivy battle” and then defending in overtime. “Both teams had only scored three goals in the Ivies, and we get a donnybrook tonight with each team scoring two goals,” he said. “I thought maybe the 2-2 tie was fitting.”

“It was definitely a fight. Every ball, every inch is pretty monumental,” Ohrt said. “I thought we did a great job.”

 

Yale 1, Brown 0

The final game was decided by a goal in the sixth minute by Yale forward Mary Kubiukn>. Though the Bears pressed on, registering seven shots on goal, the scoreline stayed at 1-0 for the Bulldogs.

The result ended a losing season for the Bears. Despite having started out strong early in the year, recording a 6-1 record at one point, Bruno ended up losing eight out of its 10 games against Ivy opponents.

“I definitely think that the season had some rough spots,” Cross said. “Obviously, we didn’t do as well in the Ivy League as we thought we could.”

This clear division in results defined the season: a successful first seven games, followed by a downward slide once conference play began. In the first seven games, the Bears scored a total of 10 goals, but the team only managed to score another five in the last ten games. They finished the season with the least-productive offense of any Ivy team.

“We hit a rough spot there in the beginning of Ivies, and I think once we hit that, we were having a really hard time pulling ourselves out of that,” said Siegelman, one of the Bears’ offensive standouts this season with three game-winning goals. 

But she said she thinks the team will come back even stronger next year. “One of the things having such a rough Ivy League contributed to is this desire to win and work hard,” she said.

Cross said the team is motivated to do better next year, and “it’s going to be important having strong leadership.”

The team will only be losing three seniors, so many core players will return to the squad next season.

Marshall, who led the team with four assists, is one of the seniors who said goodbye to the Bears’ pitch Sunday. But she said she isn’t worried about the players staying behind. “I have every confidence in them for next year,” she said.

Pack agreed. 

“Of course,” she said. “They’re Brown women’s soccer.”

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