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Crimson stops m. soccer

Monday, October 20, 2008

The men’s soccer team (8-3-1, 2-1-0 Ivy) fell to Harvard (6-3-0, 3-0-0) on Saturday night, giving the Crimson sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. There were points where the team looked the best it had all year, according to David Walls ’11, yet there were times throughout the course of the 4-1 loss when the players’ heads were not in the game.

“We had some mental lapses at bad times,” Walls said. “We didn’t concentrate in important times of the game when they were attacking.”

The Bears began the game in an offensive attack mode as they recorded the first eight shots of the game, including the first three on goal. In the first 20 minutes of action, Harvard goalie Austin Harms made three strong saves, two coming on Brown headers inside the box.

“I think we controlled the ball well at the beginning of the game,” Ian Smith ’11 said. “We had a lot of opportunities to get a jump on them early on. They created some opportunities and were able to score on them.”

Harvard capitalized on a turnover by Brown and scored the game’s first goal, on the Crimson’s first attempt, in the 25th minute. Andre Akpan kicked one in from the left side of the box, recording his fourth goal of the season. Alex Chi recorded the assist on the goal. Chi was at it again as he added another assist to his night when Harvard scored in the 42nd minute, giving the Crimson a 2-0 lead going into the half.

“If we had scored on a couple of the chances we had early on, the game would have been totally different,” Dylan Sheehan ’09 said. “We still maintained a decent level of play despite being down two goals.”

The Bears kept a positive attitude going into the half. In its last Ivy League game against Princeton, the team broke out offensively with three goals in the second half, after trailing 1-0 at halftime. This time, the team managed only one goal, coming in the final minute, as Harvard pulled out two more goals to take the game, 4-1.

Harvard came out firing in the half’s opening minutes, as Akpan narrowly missed a header. After the Bears cleared the rebound, Walls followed up with a shot that sailed to the right of the post. Shortly after the attempt, T.J. Thompson ’10 moved to the top of the box and sent a shot to the goal, where Harms made a diving stop to save it.

Michael Fucito, Sheehan’s fellow finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class award, put the ball into the left corner of net in the 64th minute to put Harvard up, 3-0. Fucito currently leads the Crimson with seven goals on the year. Harvard scored its final goal several minutes later, increasing its lead to four.

Austin Mandel ’12 scored the Bears’ only goal in the last minute of play off a pass from Darren Howerton ’09.

The Bears outshot the Crimson 16-11 for the game, but each team recorded six shots on goal, while Harvard capitalized on four of them.

“There were moments where we played some of the best soccer we played all year,” Rhett Bernstein ’09 said. “We passed the ball exceptionally well, moved it around. For all 90 minutes, we didn’t play to our potential.”

The Bears are putting the loss behind them because the team still has five games left in the season, four of those in Ivy League play. They will travel to Hartwick on Tuesday night for their last non-conference game of the season.

There is only one way Brown can push forward to finish out the season strong, according to Walls.

“It starts at 7 a.m. practice tomorrow morning,” Walls said. “We’re going to go hard for five games. We’re all in it together – we’ve been a team from day one. We’re going to continue to carry on as a team the same way we have the whole season.”

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