Sports

Women’s soccer team goes undefeated in pair of thrillers

Sacred Heart, Dartmouth take Bruno to extra time, but Bears only top Pioneers

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, September 28, 2015

Five-foot-11 goalkeeper Christine Etzel ’19 was able to use her height to make seven saves against Dartmouth and hold the Big Green scoreless.

After two consecutive 1-0 losses to UMass and UConn, the women’s soccer team showed its resilience this week, both in terms of results and fighting spirit. Taking on two tough opponents in Sacred Heart and Dartmouth, the Bears (3-4-1, 0-0-1 Ivy) came away from two hard-fought overtime games with a win and a draw.

Brown 3, Sacred Heart 2 (OT)

The Bears entered Wednesday’s game desperate for a win, as a victory over Sacred Heart (3-6-0) would provide momentum going into the Ivy opener Sunday against Dartmouth.

The game began with a surprise: Mikela Waldman ’18, who had started every game of the season to that point, began the game on the bench.

“We wanted to try something different,” said Head Coach Phil Pincince. “It was our last non-conference game before we open up on Sunday, and we wanted to experiment with a few things, so we did, and we thought it was pretty productive.”

After several shots on net in the first half of the period — Brown had 13 shots on goal for the game ­— did not yield a score, the Bears finally took advantage of an opportunity. Off a corner from Sarah Cobb ’18, Erin Katz ’16 threaded a well-placed header past Sacred Heart’s defenders and into the net, giving Brown a 1-0 lead.

Goalie Christine Etzel ’19 continued her superb play, making several saves that helped the Bears maintain their slim lead. At 25:05, she made a diving catch off a well-struck shot from the left side.

“If she’s 5-3, 5-4, that’s a goal,” said broadcaster Mike Rubin of the 5-foot-11 Etzel.

With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Etzel managed to punch a shot from well beyond the 18-yard box over the net, bringing the crowd to its feet and preserving the Bears’ 1-0 lead into halftime.

Though the Bears led at the half, their lead could have been bigger: several missed opportunities made the game closer than it should have been. Carly Gould ’17 in particular took two shots that drew gasps from the crowd and barely missed the net. The first missed high from beyond the box, and the second, a volley in front of the net, sailed just wide.

“Getting the opportunities — that’s half the battle,” Pincince said. “Most of the time, we’re not getting opportunities. We had a lot of opportunities (Wednesday), and it could have been 3-0 in the first half.”

Only six minutes into the second half, the Bears struck again. Off a beautiful cross from Sydney Calas ’17, Katz converted another header for her second goal of the night. But while the Bears celebrated the goal, Pincince thought they may have become complacent.

“There was a bit of a letdown with the intensity level after we went up 2-0,” he said.

The Bears’ defense appeared to have solved Sacred Heart’s attack, and the game continued relatively uneventfully. But in the 79th minute, a header off an indirect kick snuck past Etzel, making the score 2-1.

After the goal, the Bears began playing defensively, attempting to run down the clock. But the Pioneers struck again in the 89th minute after a throw-in was not properly defended. Sacred Heart’s Dana Cosmedy received the loose ball in the box and fired it past Etzel to tie the score. Two scoreless minutes later, the game went to overtime.

“You want to look at the positive. We got to play our first overtime game of the year,” Pincince said. “I liked that we came out with intensity, and in overtime, we showed some composure.”

This became clear as the first overtime period began: less than four minutes in, Jillian DeSimone ’16 sent a cross into the middle, and Katz headed it home once again, securing her first career hat-trick and sending the Bears home with a 3-2 win.

“It’s been an incredible senior year for her thus far, and we want it to continue,” Pincince said. “I’m very happy for her.”

Brown 0, Dartmouth 0 (2 OT)

Riding the momentum from the victory over Sacred Heart, the Bears entered Sunday’s game against the Big Green (6-1-1, 0-0-0 Ivy) looking to start their Ivy season with a win. Only 2:30 into the game, it looked as if DeSimone would give them a chance to do so. But DeSimone’s shot from inside the 18-yard box hit the right post, and Dartmouth took possession. The Bears would not come closer to a goal for the rest of the game.

“Strong Ivy opening for both teams,” Pincince said. “Both us and Dartmouth gave 150 percent. We brought it for 110 minutes; they brought it for 110 minutes.”

Etzel played a central role once again: En route to earning her second shutout of the season, she made seven saves.

For the most part, the Big Green’s defense was able to stifle the Bears’ attack, as the Bears took only four shots on net. Even shots that never reached the keeper were turned away. In the 53rd minute, Gould fired a shot that was blocked just wide of the net. On the ensuing corner, captain Julia Moody ’16 lined up another shot, which Dartmouth goalie Casey Cousineau was barely able to hold onto. Ten minutes later, Jennifer Caruso ’19 had another shot turned away off a breakaway, and less than a minute into the second overtime period, DeSimone missed high on a header that would have given the Bears the game.

Despite these missed opportunities, Pincince expressed satisfaction with his team’s play. “As tired as we were in overtime, I thought we did a great job moving our feet, keeping them in front of us,” he said. “Our players came up big around the ball.”

The Bears will next take on Bryant in a break from Ivy League play at Stevenson Field Wednesday before traveling to New York next weekend to play Columbia, currently on a two-game losing streak.

“The first thing we need to think of is the game on Wednesday night at home,” Pincince said. “We’ll take it one game at a time.”