Sports

Men’s soccer draws Eagles, take on Crimson to cap off Beantown series

Bruno looks to move over .500 in conference with home matchups against Harvard and Penn

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, October 17, 2014

After losing its grip on an early one-goal lead to fall to Princeton last weekend, the men’s soccer team looked to rebound in Tuesday’s non-conference matchup with Boston College. Louis Zingas ’18 found the back of the net for the Bears, but BC equalized less than a minute later in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes.

“I thought we responded well after a tough game against Princeton,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “We had a few different guys in the starting lineup, and I was pleased with all of their performances.”

Zingas and Nico Lozada ’18, usually impact subs who come in off the bench, started over co-captains Ben Maurey ’15.5 and Daniel Taylor ’15. This move was likely an attempt to provide the two captains with a rest in preparation for Bruno’s next conference game.

Laughlin also reached deep into his pool of reserves, calling on the likes of Otis Booz ’16 and Christian Rodriguez ’17 — neither of whom had seen action before Tuesday — to play against BC (4-4-3, 1-3-1 ACC).

After 80 minutes without a goal — an increasingly common occurrence for a defensive-minded Brown team — the Bears (3-3-4, 1-1-0 Ivy) finally got on the scoreboard. Quinn English ’18 headed a pass to Zingas, who found himself one-on-one with BC goalkeeper Alex Kapp. Zingas slotted a shot from near the penalty spot, sending the ball past Kapp to put Bruno on top.

Conventional wisdom says a team is most vulnerable directly following a goal, and the Bears were no exception. Just 41 seconds after Zingas’ opening strike, the Eagles evened the score when Cole DeNormandie finished off a cross from teammate Dylan Pritchard.

The teams battled for another 30 minutes, but two periods of extra time were not enough to determine a winner. Bruno lagged behind the Eagles in both shots (13-10) and corners (7-5), but escaped with a tie nonetheless. Mitch Kupstas ’14.5 turned in another solid performance in the net, parrying three BC shots that all could have easily given the Eagles the win.

Zingas’ goal, the 10th of the season for a desperate Bears offense, was the first tally of the young midfielder’s career. Zingas joins 10 of his teammates on the list of players who have contributed either a goal or an assist so far this season.

On most teams, a few playmakers and scorers tend to emerge as the season wears on. For example, Princeton’s (6-3-2, 1-1-0) Cameron Porter and Thomas Sanner have provided the majority of the Tigers offense this season. Penn’s (5-6-0, 1-1-0) Duke Lacroix has been the team’s go-to offensive weapon for a number of seasons and has had success on an inconsistent Quaker squad.

The Bears do not have such a playmaker, instead taking an offense-by-committee approach.

“Different players have taken on different roles in different games,” Laughlin said. “That’s part of why we don’t have someone standing out with a bunch of goals. It’s a group effort for us to score, and it’s a group effort for us to get chances.”

Laughlin also cited injuries as another explanation for Bruno’s evenly spread offensive statistics. Striker Nate Pomeroy ’17 has not appeared in a game since the Bears Sept. 26 meeting with the University of Vermont (6-5-2, 1-1-1 AEC). Tariq Akeel ’16 missed two games and Jack Gorab ’16 missed one, both for health-related reasons. This left players like English, Zingas, Tyler Long ’17 and Will Cross ’16 to take advantage of opportunities to contribute to the Bears’ offensive production.

Bruno’s next opponent, Harvard (8-3-0, 2-0-0), has a well-balanced offensive game similar to that of the Bears, albeit one that is much more prolific.

The Crimson has posted 23 goals in 11 games, tying it with Dartmouth (7-3-1, 2-0-0) for the league lead. The offense also fires an average of over 18 shots a game and has accumulated 28 assists, by far the highest numbers in the conference in both categories.

Saturday’s game will pose an intriguing matchup, as Bruno counters Harvard’s league-best offense with one of the conference’s stingiest defenses.

“Their system of play works regardless of who is actually playing in it,” Laughlin said. “But they also have a lot of dangerous players. They’ve used a lot of different guys so far this season, so they are a tough team to prepare for.”

Among the 17 Crimson players that have contributed either a goal or an assist this season, a few names jump off the scoresheet. First-year midfielders Christian Sady and Sam Brown, who was named an Ivy Rookie of the Week a few weeks ago, are the Ivy League’s two leading passers, with five and four assists respectively.

Who exactly Sady and Brown are passing to varies widely from game to game. Four Crimson players have each scored three goals, four more have notched two tallies apiece, and three others have netted a lone goal this season. Practically every field player, both starters and reserves, is a threat to score, making Bruno’s defensive assignments difficult.

Harvard’s offensive exploits have produced eight straight wins for the team, including two 1-0 victories over Ivy foes Cornell (7-4-1, 0-2-0) and Yale (1-8-2, 0-2-0). And the Crimson have looked like early favorites for the conference title after rocky starts for Cornell and Princeton.

But Laughlin remains unphased by Harvard’s recent success, stating that his team will compete hard and hopes to break the Crimson’s winning streak.

“Harvard is a new challenge for us,” Laughlin said. “But I think one of the things our guys pride themselves on is accepting whatever challenge lies ahead of us and taking it on. It’s another opportunity for us to prove ourselves against a team that has had a lot of success this year.”

The make-or-break match will kick off at 3:30 p.m. at Stevenson Field. Win, and Bruno will catapult itself back up towards the top of the Ivy standings. Lose, and the team’s title aspirations will be squashed.

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