Sports

Crucial women’s soccer match ends in draw at Penn

With tie, Bruno falls out of contention for conference title with one game remaining

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 31, 2016

Amanda Lane ’19 battles with a Columbia defender in a game earlier this season. Lane scored Brown’s only goal in a 1-1 tie against Penn Saturday.

With only two games left in the season and sitting at third in the conference table, the women’s soccer team had to pull out the victory over Penn Saturday if it wanted to remain in contention for the league title. But despite taking the 1-0 lead over the Quakers (9-3-3, 2-2-2 Ivy) early in the second half, Bruno (8-2-5, 3-1-2) could not maintain this one-goal margin. Penn equalized soon after, and the contest ended in a 1-1 draw after two overtimes.

Heading into the game, the Bears were well aware of their standing in the Ivy League and of the importance of this matchup. “We were still in the hunt to win the Ivy League, which is a great position to be in,” wrote Head Coach Kia McNeill in an email to The Herald. “With two games left, each game just gets more meaningful — for our team and certainly for our senior class. We have all seen the work that we have put in this year pay off and certainly want to end things on a high note.”

The first half did not see much offensive production from either side. The Bears took only three shots during the period — a particularly strong effort in just the first minute by forward Celia Story ’19, a rare take by veteran defender Sydney Calas ’17 and finally one from rookie Abby Carchio ’20. The Quakers tallied four shots.

Brown also had difficulty creating dangerous set plays against Penn’s defense. Bruno was unable to secure any corner kick opportunities in the first period, compared with the Quakers’ two.

“I think we controlled the tempo of the half for the most part,” McNeill wrote. “But I don’t think we were being aggressive enough to dig out second balls and go at players in the attack, which is probably why the stats showed to be a bit more even than the game actually was.”

But Bruno’s sense of urgency returned during halftime, as the team surged offensively to produce a goal just eight minutes into the second half. The play started after midfielder Megan Grant ’19 carried the ball to the edge of the Quakers’ goal area and sent a looping cross into the box. Then, midfielder Amanda Lane ’19 was able to break away from her defender and meet the cross with a strong header, which beat Penn’s goalkeeper and put Bruno up 1-0. The goal marked the second of the season for Lane, as well as the first career assist for Grant.

“I thought we did well generating dangerous opportunities — particularly in the second half,” McNeill wrote. The coaching staff made “some adjustments at halftime to encourage the team to get forward more. Games like these really come down to minimizing mistakes defensively and finishing your opportunities on the attacking end.”

But the Quakers did not back down from this momentum switch. Over the next 15 minutes, Penn rallied with multiple counterattacks aimed at the Bears’ defensive line.

In their third pass, the Quakers found a chink in Brown’s back four defenders. After the ball deflected into the penalty area during a Penn corner kick, Allie Trzaska sent a quick shot that evaded goalkeeper Christine Etzel ’19 to equalize the score.

This was the last time any player on either team could find the back of the net. Despite the contest going into double overtime, the scoreboard read 1-1 as the referee blew the final whistle.

“I think all in all it was a good game. It was certainly a hard fought battle for both teams,” McNeill wrote. “Even though today’s result was a tie, I think we have been consistently getting better every game. That is the most important thing for me right now: improvement.”

Brown only has one game remaining in the 2016 season. The team will host Yale Saturday at 3:30 p.m. During the game, the team will focus on “taking changes and putting them on frame” and being “more clinical in front of the goal.”

Unfortunately for the Bears, their hunt for the Ivy League crown has ended. Harvard — the current conference leader — has a three-point lead over the Bears, who currently have 11 points and sit in third place. But with only one game remaining, this difference cannot be bridged, as the Crimson will play its final game this weekend against the league’s second-place team, Columbia — which currently holds 13 points.

Thus the best Brown can hope for is a second place finish, which is contingent on the team beating Yale and on Columbia losing to or drawing with Harvard. Nevertheless, this outcome would best last year’s third place result.

“The season flew by, and this team has a lot to be proud of with all that we have accomplished this year,” McNeill wrote. “Our senior day game next week is particularly important because we get to honor the playing careers of our four seniors: Carly Gould (’17), Ella Warshauer (’17), Calas and Jackie Alois (’17). They have meant a lot to this program on and off the field, and it’s important that we send them off with a win.”