Sports

Women’s soccer allows late goal in draw with Crimson

Etzel ’19 records career-high 14 saves, Bears improve in Ivy standings despite draw

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 17, 2016

Amanda Lane ’19 evades a Harvard defender Saturday at Stevenson-Pincince field. Lane recorded a team-high two shots on goal in the game.

Despite maintaining a 1-0 lead over Harvard through the 89th minute, the women’s soccer team could not hold on for the win. Brown (7-2-4, 2-1-1 Ivy) tied the Crimson (7-3-3, 2-0-2) 1-1 Saturday, in a disappointing end to a hard-fought contest. Nevertheless, the Bears have now improved to third place in Ivy League standings, trailing only the Crimson and undefeated Columbia.

Bruno headed into the game — its fourth Ivy League matchup so far — with momentum from the past week. Against Holy Cross Tuesday evening, Bruno had displayed its strongest offensive showing yet, scoring three goals in the win, tying its season high. The previous Saturday, Brown beat Princeton for the first time in over two years, clinching a challenging 2-1 road win.

In hopes of claiming the elusive conference crown, Brown brought a high-power offensive mindset from the beginning at Saturday’s game.

“We felt really good going into the game coming off two big wins,” said forward Mikela Waldman ’18. “Our offense has been clicking really well recently, and our defense has been amazing all year, so we were excited to get after Harvard, who has always been a rival of ours.”

These sentiments showed themselves in the Bears’ execution. Early on, Waldman stepped up big for Bruno, drawing first blood in the 26th minute. After tracking toward the goal as Celia Story ’19 dribbled up the left sideline, Waldman put herself in good position to receive a cross into the box. Story was able to find her mark, sending a lofted ball in front of the Harvard goal and connecting with Waldman, who finished the cross into the back of the net with poise for her first goal of the season.

“We took care of our opportunity,” Waldman said. “I was happy with my performance scoring a goal, but I still think I could be more dangerous going forward in the coming games.”

But the Crimson would not go down without a fight. With Brown leading 1-0, Harvard poured on the offense. The Crimson took 13 shots by the end of the period, but stalwart goalkeeper Christine Etzel ’19 stopped each one.

Playing with the lead seemed to compel the Bears to approach the second half more conservatively — a strategy that had worked for the team in previous matchups this season. But in doing so, the Bears found themselves on the defensive. As the second half progressed, the Crimson’s unrelenting attack tested the Bears.

“Harvard was down our throats a lot in the second half,” Waldman said. Harvard had 19 corner kicks, “so it just goes to show how solid our backs have been defending in our box all year.”

Bruno was able to quell all but one of these efforts. In the 89th minute, the Crimson secured a desperation free kick — its last opportunity to score in regular time. As the ball sailed into Brown’s box, Harvard’s Rachel Garcia met it first, netting a header to tie the game. In both overtimes, neither team scored, and the contest ended in a 1-1 draw.

“The team played well,” Etzel said. “There’s always room for improvement, but I thought we gave Harvard a tough battle.”

Etzel entered the game ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in save percentage and goals against average. In the tie, she tallied a career-high 14 saves.

The Bears will continue their season in six days with another Ivy League matchup against Cornell. Bruno will host the Big Red Saturday at 2:30 p.m., hoping to add three points to its Ivy League total on the season. A strong showing versus the Big Red could launch the Bears into second place.

“Obviously, we have to continue to play well and compete to be at the top of the table,” Etzel said. “It’s going to be close this year.”