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Men’s soccer shuts out Bryant, but celebration can wait

Friday, October 10, 2008

The men’s soccer team (7-2-1) defeated Bryant (1-12-1) 1-0 Tuesday night at Stevenson Field. Although the Bears were on the board early with a quick goal by T.J. Thompson ’10 in the first 10 minutes of play, they were unable to add to their early lead.

“Any time you can get the first goal early in the game, you should be able to build off it,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan. “We didn’t use that as a platform to play well. Unfortunately, you have those games sometimes.”

Noonan said the team performed “below expectations,” a feeling shared by the majority of the team.

“The longer the game went on (had we not scored early), it would have given Bryant a window of opportunity,” Thompson said. “We tried to expand on the lead; unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on the early goal.”

The Bears came out attacking with 10 shots in the first half. In the opening minutes, Thompson shot the ball past the Bulldog goalie on a pass from Sean Rosa ’12 who had just entered the game. The goal was the first of the year for Thompson. The Bears’ early momentum did not carry on into the rest of the game, as the Bears failed to score in the remaining 80 minutes of play.

Darren Howerton ’09 recorded a season-high five shots, one on goal, and Thompson tallied the second-most shots with four. Although the Bears out-shot the Bulldogs 19-12, the numbers did not reflect the Bears’ struggle to find the net.

“We played poorly all the way around,” Noonan said. “They weren’t real quality shots either.”

Goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand ’11 received the win on the night with two saves evening out his record in the net (2-2-0).

The Bears were frustrated with their overall performance and inability to execute their game plan, according to Thompson, who, althoughglad to have scored his first goal of the season, was not pleased with the result of the game.

“It was good to get my first goal of the year early on,” Thompson said. “It gave me confidence for the rest of the game. We had opportunities to score but didn’t capitalize. We’ll have to take that performance, put it behind us and come out with a new attitude for Princeton this weekend.”

Princeton may be tougher than their record would reveal, as they pulled off an impressive tie with Dartmouth, one of the top contenders in conference, in the first Ivy League game of the season. The Bears will travel to Princeton (2-7-1) on Saturday and are looking to improve on their 1-0 league record.

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