Sports

Men’s soccer ties to capture share of Ocean State Cup

After opening with a win at home, the Bears fought to tie the championship game against Providence

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, September 9, 2013

The men’s soccer team was named co-champion of the Ocean State Classic tournament this weekend after beating Bryant University 1-0 Friday and tying Providence College 1-1 Sunday. The Bears (1-0-1) played tight-knit defense to hold the Bulldogs (1-3) scoreless in the home opener, and a second-half goal against the Friars (3-0-1) gave Bruno a share of the title honors with Providence after two overtime periods. This is Bruno’s second Ocean State Classic championship in a row — he won the 2012 tournament outright.

 

Brown 1, Bryant 0

A lone strike from Voltaire Escalona ’14 was enough to secure a win in the season opener, thanks to a strong performance by Bruno’s young back line. Three of the starting four defenders received their first college starts Friday, helping the Bears start their season with a shutout victory.

“Learning can be accomplished by doing,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin, “and that is what these guys did (against Bryant). … It will be challenging for them all year, because we are going to rely on them to do a good job.”

The game’s only goal came early in the second half. Jose Salama ’14 controlled a free kick from Tim Whalen ’16 on the wing and sent the ball into the box. Escalona trapped the ball with his chest, spun his defender and fired a shot into the top corner.

“If we can use the flanks more as we go forward, we’ll be a more dangerous team,” Laughlin said. “We still think we can do a better job holding the ball up front, keeping possession for ourselves, and then getting more numbers forward.”

More than 1,200 students descended on Stevenson Field to cheer on the Bears, which will be important to the team’s success in home games, said goalkeeper Josh Weiner ’14.

“The crowd we had Friday night was unbelievable,” Weiner said. “We don’t want to lose at home, and with that kind of crowd behind us, it’s a great boost.”

 

Brown 1, Providence 1

The Bears became tournament co-champions Sunday after a gutsy come-from-behind performance to tie with a strong Friars squad.

Bruno fell behind just before halftime — Weiner seemed to save a shot to his left, but the attempt was declared a goal as the ball appeared to cross the line.

“We were unlucky to have that goal called against us,” Escalona said. “But it was really good to see such a young group of guys exhibiting the qualities of Brown soccer. They didn’t give up when we were scored on and came back to tie up the game.”

It took only four minutes in the second half for the Bears to even the score. Salama was again the provider, receiving a throw-in on the left flank and sending a cross toward the back post. Daniel Taylor ’15 snuck around his defender and headed the ball across the face of the goal to tie the score at one.

Weiner made four saves and helped push the game to overtime. The Friars had two shots in the first overtime, but neither troubled Bruno’s goalkeeper. Neither team could break the deadlock in the second overtime.

“It was a mentally tough performance by the group,” Laughlin said. “To come away co-champions of the Ocean State Classic is a good start to the season.”

Bruno will face No. 19 University of Washington (4-0) Friday under the lights at Stevenson Field. The Bears earned a dramatic 4-3 victory in Seattle last season, and they are preparing for an aggressive Huskies team, Escalona said.

“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Escalona said. “They didn’t like us going to their home and beating them in overtime last year. … I’m sure they’re looking for payback, but they’re not going to get it.”

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