Sports

Season-opening win streak for men’s soccer skids to halt

Bears struggle to contain offensive outbursts from Georgia State, No. 14 Clemson over weekend

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, September 21, 2015

The men’s soccer team’s unbeaten streak ended last weekend during its southern road trip, which pitted it against Georgia State and No. 14 Clemson. The Bears (3-2) never led the entire weekend and found themselves on the unfortunate end of many major calls. The typically stingy defense was lit up for six total goals, compared to the single goal it allowed in the previous three matches.

“We did give up six goals, but we only gave two in the run of play,” said Head Coach Pat Laughlin. “There were some difficult decisions that went against us over the course of the weekend.”

“We’re very confident in our ability to defend,” he added. “We learned a lot about ourselves.”

Georgia State 3, Brown 2

Friday night’s clash with the Panthers (5-3) was a tale of two very different halves. The first half was an offensive outburst for both sides. Georgia State’s Eddie Wilding opened up the scoring in the 28th minute when he fired the ball past goalkeeper Erik Hanson ’17 from the penalty spot. Just over three minutes later, he was credited with doubling the Panthers’ lead, as his shot was deflected by Hanson’s shoulder and rolled into the goal.

The Bears responded within 10 minutes when reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week Jack Hagstrom ’19 knocked in his second tally of the season off a deflection from co-captain Jack Gorab ’16, cutting the lead in half. While the Panthers fired back with a goal of their own just two minutes later, Will Cross ’16 answered just 33 seconds later off an assist from Mike Leone ’17.

All told, the five goals were scored in a span of about 15 minutes. The fast-paced frenzy of the first half ended with each team notching nine shots on frame. Despite the offensive explosion, the second half was much more defensively oriented. While both sides created chances, neither could mimic the production of the first half, and the Panthers rode out the game for a one-goal victory.

“The boys chased the game well in the second half,” Laughlin said. “We were really unfortunate not to get the third. If we had gotten the third one, I believe we would’ve won.”

No. 14 Clemson 3, Brown 1

On a hot, humid day in South Carolina, the Bears could only withstand so much of the Tigers’ pressure before falling 3-1 to the hosts. Clemson (6-1-1) dictated much of the game and looked more aggressive, especially in the first half of the match. The second half was more of the same, with the Tigers controlling possession for long stretches.

“The guys’ focus was really good, as was our effort and organization,” Laughlin said.

Clemson struck first in the 23rd minute when Kyle Murphy latched onto a cross with a header that sailed past Hanson. The Tigers doubled their lead 12 minutes later, when T.J. Casner converted a penalty kick — the second the Bears had allowed that weekend.

Brown was brought back to life just five minutes into the second half. Gorab floated in a perfectly placed lob that Hagstrom beat the keeper to, heading it in for his third goal of the season. The in-form first-year now has three goals on only four shots this year.

Chances would be at a premium for the Bears for the rest of the half. The Tigers skillfully maintained possession for much of the second frame and peppered Hanson’s goal with shots. In total, they wound up with 11 shots in the second half, a few of which demanded Hanson’s services in order to keep Brown in the game.

Clemson iced the game in the 86th minute with a free kick by Diego Campos just outside the right side of the box. The righty sent a curler into the far corner of the goal, which wrong-footed Hanson, giving the keeper no chance at saving the game-sealing goal.

“We are walking away disappointed because we know we could’ve gotten something more from the weekend,” Laughlin said.

The Bears hope to turn things around next weekend in a home doubleheader against Florida Gulf Coast (1-2-1) and Massachusetts (1-7).

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