Sports

Hanson ’17 leads men’s soccer defense to secure first Ivy win

Goalkeeper Hanson ’17 records career-high eight saves against Princeton at home Saturday

By
Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On a soggy Roberts Stadium field, the men’s soccer team came out on top against hosting Princeton by a tally of 1-0 for its first Ivy League victory. Louis Zingas ’18 scored his first goal of the season — his second collegiate goal — and Erik Hanson ’17 made a career-high eight saves to help the Bears (6-4-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) end their two-game winless streak. Though still in the early days of the Ivy campaign, this triumph also elevated the team into a four-way tie for first place.

Going into the game, one of the biggest challenges was stifling a Tigers (5-4-1, 0-1-1 Ivy) offense that ranks high statistically among the Ancient Eight, scoring at a clip of 1.6 goals per game. Out of nine goal-scoring games, six had been multi-goal games, and the Tigers had only been shut out two times prior to the duel with Brown. Defensively, the two teams had similar goals against average, but adjusting for minutes played, the Bears’s defense was stronger on paper as a result of their overtime games this season.

Despite the wet conditions, Brown came out with its foot on the pedal. In the opening 20 minutes of the frame, it was all Bruno, as the squad amassed several shots at the goal. But Princeton slowly started to crawl its way back into the fixture,  unleashing more and more shots as the team gained momentum. The Bears defense stood tall in the face of this attack, as all the shots were blocked or saved by Hanson. By half’s end, the score remained deadlocked at 0-0.

“We owe a lot to our goalkeeper for making great saves,” said midfielder James Myall ’18.

In the beginning of the second half, it only took one counterattack to change the game. Nico Lozada ’18 charged down the center of the field before sliding the ball over to co-captain Nate Pomeroy ’17. A Princeton defender slipped, allowing Pomeroy to pass it over to an open Zingas who calmly slotted it home to give the Bears the advantage.

The Tigers now began their campaign for an equalizer. In the 61st minute, the team’s leading goal scorer Greg Seifert rang a shot against the crossbar in one of his best chances of the game. The Tigers forward was a constant nuisance throughout the game, taking seven total shots, three of which were on frame.

Offensive opportunities were comparatively few and far between for the Bears as Princeton turned up the pressure. But Bruno continued to block shots, and those that were not blocked either sailed high or were saved by Hanson. The Bears were more than doubled in shots, losing that battle 10-21, but Hanson and the defense were stoic in their protection of the net. The veteran net minder gained his third shutout of the season with the win.

“One of the keys to maintaining solid defense was effective communication and good shape from our back line,” Myall said.

Nearing the end of the match, the Tigers had a few last-ditch chances but could not muster the goal they needed. The final whistle blew, and the Bears had their first Ivy win by a score of 1-0.

Though a small sample size, through two Ivy games Bruno has allowed a league-leading one goal and now boasts a 1.05 goals against average through about 1,025 total minutes played.

The Bears will face their biggest Ivy League test next Friday when they host the high-flying offense of Harvard at 7 p.m. on Stevenson-Pincince Field.