Sports

Men’s soccer battles URI to scoreless draw in fractious contest

Bruno unable to capitalize on offensive opportunities in physical contest marked by yellow cards, fouls

By
Contributing Writer
Sunday, September 24, 2017

After defeating nationally-ranked Tulsa away from home, the Bears endured a more modest result in a testy affair between in-state rivals. The teams had to be separated at midfield in the second half after some physical play.

Following the men’s soccer team’s first loss of the season to Southern Methodist University last Sunday, Brown (4-1-1) returned home to write the next chapter of their intrastate rivalry with the University of Rhode Island Saturday. Bruno was unable to get back to its winning ways, as the Rams (3-2-2) managed to battle the Bears to a scoreless draw.

“We did really well defensively,” said co-captain James Myall ’18. “We were pretty strong in the back, especially on set pieces.”

Both URI and Brown started fast, as the offenses threatened with several corner kicks, shots barely high and wide and passes that were inches off the mark. The first half demonstrated the physicality of both teams; the Bears and Rams both earned early yellow cards and combined for 17 first-half fouls.

The most notable first-half scoring chance for Bruno came when Jack Hagstrom ’19 was able to soar above the defense on a corner kick for a header that was mere inches wide of the net.

As the second half began, the Rams came out with urgency, creating a quick shot from the top of the goal box that required a diving save from Brown goalie Joey Cipicchio ’18, sending the shot rolling barely outside of the goal post.

But as the second half continued, the Bears were able to settle in and respond offensively. Nico Lozada ’18 started to breathe life into the Bears’ offense with the first two shots on goal of the game in the 56th and 58th minutes.

The tension of the rivalry boiled over in the second half, as the referees needed to stop the game to separate players from each team at midfield.

The Bears came excruciatingly close to breaking the ice in the final five minutes of regulation. Quinn English ’18 was able to get behind the Rams’ defense twice but was unable to convert on the scoring opportunities.

“We could be a little better in the final third,” Myall said. “We obviously had quite a few chances up there. Just putting the ball in the net — that’s something we need to do better.”

After 90 minutes of hard-fought soccer, this Ocean State rivalry went to overtime for the second year in a row. Regulation was remarkably even, as the Bears led the Rams in shots 10-9 and both sides were knotted with seven corner kicks each.

The first overtime featured numerous opportunities for both teams, but neither squad was able to find the game-winning goal. Brown’s strong defense was aided in part by another diving save in the 99th minute from Cipicchio off of a corner kick.

“We just couldn’t get around them,” said co-captain Louis Zingas ’18. “They were solid in the back, winning 50/50s. They just did a really good job of shutting us down.”

In the second overtime,the fatigue of playing a 100-minute game seemed to get the best of both squads. There were no major offensive opportunities as the clock wound down on a tough, physical game.

“It showed we could grind out good results,” Zingas said. “It’s hard against a team like (URI), who is super physical. But we matched them, intensity- and effort-wise.”

The Bears will return to the pitch Tuesday for a matchup against Boston University before beginning Ivy League play on the road Saturday against Columbia at 1:00 p.m.

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