Sports

No. 15 Bears suffer season-ending loss in NCAA Round 2

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 19, 2012

The No. 15 men’s soccer team’s season came to a heartbreaking end last night in the second round of the NCAA tournament against the No. 2 seed University of Maryland. The Terps scored a goal in the final minute of regulation to grab a 2-1 lead and advance to the third round in front of a raucous home crowd at Ludwig Field in College Park, Md.
“We’re really proud, and I’m extremely pleased with the team’s performance,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “To go into the home of a top team after they’ve been resting for a week and we’ve been away competing, and to stand up and compete like we did … it was an outstanding effort.”
Co-captain Eric Robertson ’13 similarly praised the Bears’ (13-3-3) performance. “I think the team played well especially against a team ranked in the top two all year,” he said. “Everyone stepped up. I think we had better plays at certain points, but we really battled and had good chances.”
The match marked Bruno’s fourth consecutive appearance in the second round of the tournament.
Going into the game, the Bears knew Maryland (18-1-2), the Atlantic Coast Conference champions, would be an imposing force standing between them and the next round. The Terps had reached the tournament’s third round in 10 straight seasons.
“Coach told us to stay toe-to-toe with them and play and compete with them, and we did exactly that,” said co-captain Ryan McDuff ’13. “What hurts most is to compete and play hard to the last minute and unfortunately give up that final goal.”
The game was a battle from the start, but it was the Bears who jumped to an early lead. In the 17th minute, defender Dylan Remick  ’13 sent the ball into the box off a corner kick. It was headed in by Bobby Belair ’13 past goalkeeper Keith Cardona, giving the Bears a 1-0 edge. The goal marked Remick’s third assist off a corner in the tournament and Belair’s fourth goal of the season.
It looked as if Bruno was going to double its lead five minutes after the opener when Ben Maurey ’15 took a shot after Cardona was caught out of his goal. But the chip went slightly too wide and just missed the net.  
The Bears continued to apply offensive pressure, but the Terps were quick to reciprocate, turning the match into a back-and-forth contest. It was not until the closing minutes of the half that Maryland found the equalizer on a quick strike. Forward Patrick Mullins took a long strike from 30 yards back, and the ball brushed past the fingertips of goalie Sam Kernan-Schloss ’13 and into the right side of the net.
With the game knotted at 1-1, the second half was a nail-biter. Intense action was seen around both goals. The game seemed bound to go into overtime, but Maryland capitalized on a golden opportunity in the final minute after a Bruno foul.
The ensuing free kick from Helge Leikvang was seized in the box by midfielder Dan Metzger, who deflected the ball into the top right of the goal to take the 2-1 lead.
And with the seconds ticking down, the Bears saw their season come to a bittersweet close.    
“There is always sadness when something ends. But what’s so great is we really took all the challenges and stood up to every opponent and showed that we are a top team in the country,” Laughlin said. “I couldn’t be happier for them.”
The season was “a great journey,” Robertson said.
“Every year, we have an unbelievable group of guys,” McDuff said. “Chemistry is one of our strong points, and especially this year, everyone rose to the occasion, and every guy on the team stepped up to contribute.”
With the season over, the Bears can now celebrate the year’s accomplishments. As for the team’s future, McDuff said there are still “very good things to look forward to.”

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