Sports

Men’s soccer stuns Harvard in OT

Bears earn first Ivy League win of the season on overtime goal from Toby Howell ’19

By
Contributing Writer
Sunday, October 14, 2018

Midfielder Rodrigo D’Andrea ’20 rushes to celebrate the game-winning goal with his teammates. With the crucial victory, the Bears move to 1-2 in conference play and 6-5 overall this season.

The men’s soccer team earned its first Ivy League win of the season after netting a dramatic overtime goal against Harvard Saturday night at Stevenson-Pincince Field. Despite dominating possession for most of the game, the Bears could not convert on their numerous scoring opportunities in regulation. But a well-timed pass from midfielder Daniel Schiller ’20 allowed Toby Howell ’19 to tap in the game-winning goal from close range and seal the 1-0 victory for Bruno in the 103rd minute.

After struggling in its first two Ivy League contests with a 3-1 loss to Columbia and a 2-0 loss to Princeton, Brown (6-5, 1-2 Ivy) found itself at the bottom of the league standings. Still, Head Coach Patrick Laughlin said that the Bears enter every game with a determined mindset. “Every Ivy League game, we feel, is a must-win,” Laughlin said.

Brown appeared to have the advantage over Harvard (3-9, 1-2) throughout the majority of the first half. By halftime, Bruno led Harvard in shots on goal and corner kicks by identical 3-1 margins. The first promising opportunity for the Bears arose when forward Malcolm Johnson ’22 helped set up a Brown corner in the seventh minute. Schiller took the kick, but midfielder Derek Waleffe ’22 headed it over the net. Just two minutes later, Bruno missed another chance as defender Will Crain ’22 lobbed a pass to defender Jackson Goebel ’20, whose header was on the mark but was brilliantly saved by Harvard goalkeeper Matt Freese.

Harvard stumbled soon after Freese’s save as Crimson forward Alfred Perez committed a bad foul and earned himself a yellow card in the 14th minute. But Perez rebounded, creating what was arguably Harvard’s best chance for a score in the game. Alone near Brown’s goal, Perez attempted to lob the ball over goalkeeper James Swomley ’22. Swomley leaped up and just barely blocked the ball with his fingertips, an impressive athletic display that prevented Harvard from taking the lead.

Bruno had two more solid chances to score before halftime, including a transition shot by midfielder Matthew Chow ’20 that was off the mark and a shot by forward Nathan Plano ’21 that Freese saved. Laughlin was not worried about the Bears’ several missed opportunities. “Goal scoring is hard — if it was easy, everyone would do it. The more opportunities you create, the greater chance you get one to go in, like we did at the end,” he said.

The Crimson went on a small run in the beginning of the second half, controlling possession for the majority of the first 20 minutes. Brown managed to regroup and reclaim control for the remainder of the Ivy League showdown. “There’s always up and downs in every game,” said defender Gabe Welp ’19.

As Brown began to get into its groove, midfielder Nicolas Perez ’22 set up an opportunity for the Bears to get on the board. Howell drove down the field and sent a pass to Perez in transition, but the midfielder missed the short-range shot just to the left. Harvard’s Taner Dogan had the second of the Crimson’s two shots on goal in the game in the 81st minute, but another leaping one-handed save by Swomley kept the score level. Brown was in control for the rest of regulation, sending a barrage of shots Harvard’s way as time wound down, though all of its attempts were unsuccessful.

With the game still tied at zero, the Bears and the Crimson entered two ten-minute sudden-death overtime periods. Early in the first overtime, defender Will Mims ’21 was knocked down inside the Harvard penalty box but no foul was called, drawing the ire of the Brown crowd. But fans of the Bears were soon sent into a frenzy as Howell kicked in the game-winner for the victory.

“I wanted the initial ball to be played to me, but it was played to Schiller. But I found myself in front of the goal with a good pass from Schiller and I tapped it in,” Howell described.

Bruno will continue its four-game homestand against Providence College Tuesday. The Friars also defeated Harvard 2-1 earlier this year.