Sports

Late heroics from men’s soccer team stun Lions in Ivy League opener

Second-half goals from Cross ’16, Hagstrom ’19 lift Bears over formidable Empire State opponent

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, October 5, 2015

The men’s soccer team began its Ivy League schedule with a match against Columbia — a season-opening tradition. And just like last year, the Bears emerged victorious by a one-goal margin, thanks to some second-half heroics. Leading goal-scorers Jack Hagstrom ’19 and Will Cross ’16 paced Brown (5-3, 1-0 Ivy) with a goal apiece during the 2-1 triumph in New York. The loss was the Lions’ first of the season at home.

“Whenever you can win an Ivy League away game, it’s huge,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “Columbia had a real good start to the season. They’re a strong team, and it was great for us to get another comeback victory and score some goals.”

The Lions (4-2-1, 0-1 Ivy) were a formidable opponent, especially on paper. They had the best overall record of all Ivy League teams entering the showdown with Bruno, and they had received votes in previous weeks in the NCAA rankings. Most notably, the Light Blue boasted one of the stingiest defenses in the country, only conceding three goals all season long.

Within the first five minutes of the game, the Lions demonstrated the talent and teamwork that earned them national ranking consideration. Andrew Tinari lobbed a ball into the box from about 40 yards out. Arthur Bosua slipped in behind the back line, beat both Hagstrom and Erik Hanson ’17 to the airborne ball and flicked it in with his head to give his side the early 1-0 lead.

Playing from behind was familiar territory for Bruno — its opponent had struck first in its last four games. The Bears fought hard for an equalizer throughout the rest of the half, but they could not find one. The period ended with Columbia ahead in shots and goals, 7-3 and 1-0, respectively. Hanson was called upon to make three saves in order to keep the deficit at one.

“We had to change a couple things in regards to our level of pressure and our intensity,” Laughlin said. “The goal was unfortunate — it was a good finish, but we made a couple mistakes that led to the goal. We were in a good place at halftime, knowing that we’d have the wind in the second half and that we’d make those adjustments.”

The team returned in the second half hungry for an equalizer and established itself as the aggressor. Bruno clawed its way back into the match in the 71st minute by way of a Hagstrom header. The 6-foot-4 first-year possesses deadly aerial capabilities and is often the target on set pieces. On this occasion, Matthew Chow ’19 whipped in a cross from a corner, and Hagstrom connected with a header into the side, netting to even the score at one apiece. It was the Vancouver native’s first assist and Hagstrom’s fourth goal of the season.

Hagstrom “has done very well in critical moments for us,” Laughlin said. “I think Jack would say that he was pleased to get a goal because the team needed a goal, not for him, but for the team. That’s one of the characteristics we like about him.”

Less than seven minutes later, the Bears netted the go-ahead goal. A patented long throw-in from Quinn English ’18 created a scramble in the Lions’ box. Eventually, Cross gathered the ball and slid a shot into the back of the net, giving Bruno a decisive 2-1 advantage.

The Lions’ tenacious offensive pressure for the rest of the match tested the Bears’ defense. A Bosua header required a quick reaction from Hanson to prevent an equalizer. Bruno’s back line blocked several shots in the dying minutes of the game to preserve the lead. The Light Blue’s final opportunity came with less than a minute left off a Joe Morris shot that Hanson gobbled up, sealing the victory for the Bears.

“Columbia put a lot of pressure on us when we went up 2-1 in those last 14 minutes, but the guys did a great job,” Laughlin said, referring to the play of the defense.

For the second consecutive game, the team responded to a first-half goal from its opponent with two second-half goals to win the game.

Up next for the Bears is a string of home matches, starting with Boston College (6-3-1) Tuesday and continuing with their Ivy League home opener against Princeton (3-3-1, 0-1 Ivy) Saturday.

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