Sports

No. 25 Men’s Soccer aim to beat down No. 10 Huskies

In the team's last matchup, Bruno earned a 4-3 victory with three goals in the second period

By
Sports Staff Writer
Friday, September 13, 2013

The men’s soccer team will face off against the University of Washington Huskies tonight at 7 p.m. on Stevenson Field in what will be a titanic battle between two nationally ranked teams.

No. 25 Brown (1-0-1) opened up the season strong with a 1-0 win over Bryant University (1-3) at the Ocean State Classic where they were named co-champions with Providence College (4-0-1) after a 1-1 tie with the Friars. The No. 10 Huskies (3-0-1) most recently played No. 3 University of Connecticut (2-0-1) in a resilient defensive match that ended with a scoreless draw.

“Washington is a really good team — they’re ranked in the top 10 for a reason,” Head Coach Patrick Laughlin said. “We’re expecting a massive challenge … it’s the toughest match that we have right now and we’re focusing on that.”

The Bears will look for Tariq Akeel ’16, who was named Co-Most Outstanding Player of the Ocean State Classic, Mike Leone ’17, Jack Gorab ’16 and Jose Salama ’14, who were all named to the All-Tournament Team, to lead the charge. Ben Maurey ’15, one of last season’s leading scorers, will also be returning to play and will help lead the offensive effort.

“Everyone is really excited for the game and the chance to test ourselves against such a good (Pacific-12 Conference) opponent,” goalkeeper Josh Weiner ’14 said. “We know that it is going to be a battle and it is going to take a complete performance, so the focus is going to have to be on defending and finishing our opportunities when we get them.”

With three returning seniors and a fifth-year transfer, Washington looks to be a national contender for the NCAA Division I championship this season. Last year, the Huskies went 13-5-2 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to No. 1 Creighton University (3-0-0) 4-2.

Senior Taylor Peay leads the Huskies defense, while senior Michael Harris heads the midfield. Sophomore Ryan Herman will take over in goal for the Huskies since senior goalkeeper and four-year starter Spencer Richey is out for the season after suffering a broken leg in the match against UConn.

Richey was expected to be one of the nation’s top goalkeepers this season. He was a preseason All-America candidate and was named a Herman Trophy Candidate, which is given to the top player in collegiate soccer and considered the Heisman of soccer.

“We came into this season with, in our opinion, two of the top 10 goalkeepers in the country,” Washington Head Coach Jamie Clark wrote in an email to The Herald. “Not many programs have youth national team keepers as back ups, so we feel like we are still in a great position.”

Last September, the Bears surprised the Huskies on their home turf with a 4-3 overtime victory.  Brown scored three goals in the second period and Maurey scored the game-winner to lead the Bears to victory. The Huskies are well aware the Bears know how to kick it into high gear in the second half.

“Brown is always very good at the back so finding ways to create chances will likely be a challenge,” Clark wrote. “That said, we’d be foolish to ignore their ability to score as they rung up four on us last year which was more than any other team.”

The Bears also know Washington will be one of their toughest opponents.

“I expect Washington is really going to come after us tomorrow and try to do what we did to them last year,” Maurey said.

Maurey said a major focus for the team this week was working on “set pieces,” which return the ball to play and will be “key to the game.”

“One point of focus will be defending Washington’s free kicks and long throw-ins which are both strong points for them,” said defender Tim Whalen ’16.

The Bears do not doubt that tonight will be a battle but “with a strong defensive effort and a loud Stevenson crowd we can come out on top,” Weiner said.

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