Sports

Late goal helps men’s soccer stun Lions

Maurey ’15 breaks tie in 89th minute with rebound off corner kick, Bruno’s first goal in four games

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 6, 2014

Defenseman Tim Whalen ’16 brings the ball up. Bruno’s defense has allowed no goals in four games, but the team has scored just once in that stretch.

The men’s soccer team battled sheets of rain, gusts of wind and the Columbia Lions this weekend in what was a spectacular opener to the Ivy League season. After 89 minutes of scoreless soccer, co-captain Ben Maurey ’15 volleyed in the decisive goal to give Bruno the win.

Columbia (3-4-0, 0-1-0 Ivy) is “a really good team,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “I think they’re going to do well in the league this year. So I was pleased to get a result here at home to start off the season.”

The rain began to fall even before the starting lineups were announced, creating an ultra-slick playing surface on the Stevenson Field astroturf.

“We had to adjust our tactics and play a certain way,” Laughlin said. “It was very windy and very wet, and the wind was driving the ball down the field. But it caused problems for both sides, not just us.”

Bruno (3-3-3, 1-0-0) chased the ball for the majority of the first half, as Columbia knocked it back and forth around its backline. But the Lions’ slow build-up approach never amounted to much — they often lost possession in the final third.

In the ninth minute, the Bears had a golden opportunity. Jack Gorab ’16 won the ball on the left flank and passed it to co-captain Daniel Taylor ’15 near midfield. Taylor played a one-touch pass to Eduardo Martin ’16, who spotted Gorab making a run straight up the middle. Martin threaded a pass through the Columbia backline and straight to Gorab, so the midfielder had a one-on-one with goalkeeper Kyle Jackson. But Gorab fired his shot at Jackson’s feet, and the goalie corralled the ball to quench the Bruno attack.

The rest of the half was played almost entirely in the midfield, with both teams struggling to string together multiple passes. The stormy conditions contributed to the frequent changes of possession, as long balls sailed out of play and short passes skipped well past their intended targets.

The downpour halted during the halftime break, but returned with the start of the second half. The next 45 minutes resembled the first, with players slipping and sliding into tackles and throw-ins being launched into the air out of wet hands.

In the 75th minute, play was stopped when officials noticed Gabe Welp ’18 had blood dripping down his neck and onto his jersey. Eight minutes later, Welp checked back in, donning a white bandage wrapped around his head and the number 14 jersey of defender Trey Thomas ’18.

“It was one of those injuries that looked worse than it was,” Laughlin said. Welp “will be fine. It was just a cut, but it bled a lot. We have a week to get ready for the next game, so (Welp) will have some time to recover.”

With just a minute and a half to go before a fourth straight overtime game, the Bears were awarded a corner kick. Gorab swung the corner towards Taylor at the back post. Taylor popped the ball up in the air with his head, and chaos erupted in the box.

Tim Whalen ’16, Tariq Akeel ’16 and Columbia’s goalie all converged on the ball at once. The keeper got a small touch on it, and the ball fell to Jameson Lochhead ’16. The defender took a swing at it, but missed, corkscrewing himself into the ground. The ball then bounced to Maurey, who smashed the ball down, past a number of Columbia and Brown bodies and into the back of the net.

The team dogpiled on top of Maurey and Gorab on the sideline, releasing all the frustration built up over 430 scoreless minutes of game time, Laughlin said. The coach was elated to finally get a goal and could not have picked a better player to break the Bears’ scoreless streak.

Maurey “works really hard for the team,” Laughlin said. “He’s a great leader, and he’s one of the strong characters on the team. I’m happy for him to get a goal.”

With just over a minute left, Columbia frantically lobbed the ball into Bruno’s box, but a save by Mitch Kupstas ’14.5 and a long punt sealed the Bears’ fourth consecutive shutout and first conference victory.

Bruno joins Harvard (6-3-0, 1-0-0), Dartmouth (5-2-1, 1-0-0) and Penn (5-4-0, 1-0-0) at the top of the Ivy League standings. The surprise of the weekend came from Ithaca, where the Quakers took down a Cornell (6-3-1, 0-1-0) squad that was riding a four-game winning streak and on the verge of cracking the NCAA rankings.

The Bears will return to action Saturday, when they travel down to New Jersey to square off with Princeton (3-3-2, 0-1-0), who fell to the Big Green in overtime this past weekend.

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