Bulldogs take down men’s soccer

Monday, November 10, 2008

Six players on the men’s soccer team played their last game at Stevenson Field on Saturday night. Unfortunately, the emotional evening ended in disappointment, as Yale (7-7-2, 3-3 Ivy) handed Brown (9-6-1, 3-3 Ivy) a 2-0 defeat.

“The seniors are the ones who are always the most disappointed, losing their last home game,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan. “My heart goes out to them. They’ve all had great careers here.”

The Bears started off the game with an offensive surge, tallying 4 of their 16 shots in the first 10 minutes of play, while the defense held strong. The back four kept the Bulldogs out of scoring contention until Yale recorded a shot on goal in the 32nd minute. The Bears put the pressure on a minute later when Taylor Gorman ’12 sent the ball high just over the crossbar.

In the 39th minute, Yale’s Aden Farina-Henry drove the ball high and to the right of goalkeeper Jarrett Leech ’09, who came out of the goal to try to stop Farina-Henry.

“We had a mental mistake,” said Rhett Bernstein ’09. “They got a lucky bounce, and they scored the goal. They didn’t create too many chances; we just broke down mentally. It’s us making mistakes, not the other team playing well.”

The Bulldogs continued to push the tempo, and Farina-Henry had another good shot a minute after scoring his first goal. David Walls ’11 had a great look for the Bears at the 42-minute mark, but could not find the back of the net. Brown headed into the half down 1-0.

In the opening minute of the second half, a Brown foul in the box gave Yale a free kick. Sam Post converted on the kick to send the Bears into a 2-0 hole.

Less than three minutes later, the officials called Yale for a push in the box off a corner kick. Bernstein took the kick, but it went high over the crossbar. The Bears outshot the Bulldogs 8-4 in the second half, but could not capitalize on their many opportunities.

“The biggest frustration of the year is that we’re getting the shots and opportunities, we’re just not finishing them,” Noonan said.

Brown failed to convert on anything and fell to Yale, 2-0.

“We had some very good opportunities to score, including myself on the penalty kick,” Bernstein said. “The amount of really good chances we create are minimal to the amount of shots we take. We need 10-15 good opportunities and transfer a few of those into goals.”

The Bears outshot the Bulldogs, 16-7, for the game and also posted a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks. TJ Thompson ’10 led the team in shots, with five (two on goal) and Bernstein had three shots (none on goal).

Leech (6-2-1) recorded two saves and received the loss in net.

The Bears (3-3) currently sit in fourth place in the conference race, tied with Yale (3-3). Dartmouth, (4-1-1), the Bears’ next opponent, is tied with Penn (4-1-1) in second place. Harvard (5-1) is sitting in first place and controls its own destiny for the Ivy League championship. Harvard and Penn battle for the title next weekend, and Brown can play the role of spoiler and knock Dartmouth out of title contention.

Bernstein, Darren Howerton ’09, Will Lee ’09, Leech, captains Stephen Sawyer ’09 and Dylan Sheehan ’09 closed out their home careers at Brown on Saturday night. They will look to bounce back from the home loss and finish out their college careers with a win on the road against Dartmouth on Friday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel.

“I was excited to play in the game on Saturday,” Bernstein said.

“I was trying to make the most of it – win, lose or tie. I wanted to enjoy it. Playing in front of our home fans for the last time made it a very emotional game. We’ve had some great memories of playing on our home field.”

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