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Lions hand Bears first Ivy defeat

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, October 3, 2011

Two early goals were enough to hand the women’s soccer team its third loss of the season in New York City Saturday against Columbia. Despite a late goal from Kirsten Belinsky ’15, the Bears (6-3-1, 1-1-0 Ivy) could not find an equalizing tally to pull level with the Lions (4-5-0, 2-0-0) and suffered their first Ivy loss of the season, 2-1. A narrowly missed free-kick from captain Sarah Hebert-Seropian ’12 and a goal called back by an offside call illustrated Bruno’s dogged effort to make the comeback.

The Lions found the back of the net just nine minutes into the game when Alexa Yow buried a shot past Amber Bledsoe ’14 to put Columbia up 1-0. Yow continued to pressure the Bears back line, heading the ball off the post just five minutes later. She continued to be an aerial threat and doubled her tally in the 19th minute after firing home a header off a throw-in to give the Lions an early 2-0 lead.

“We knew we had to play all 90 minutes,” Belinsky said. “Even though they scored early, we weren’t completely out of the game.”

The Bears tested the Lions’ goalkeeper three times in the first half but were not able to start the comeback before the halftime whistle blew.

“Obviously we didn’t do so well in the first half, giving up two quick goals, and that gave us a blow,” Hebert-Seropian said. “But I really liked our comeback in the second half, and our team never gave up.”

It wasn’t until 27 minutes into the second half that Bruno narrowed the deficit. A deep cross from Marybeth Lesbirel ’12 fell to the feet of Belinsky, who lofted a shot over the Lions’ keeper to notch the first-year’s first goal in a Bears uniform and bring the score to 2-1.  

“(The ball) came bouncing back towards me, and I just hit it, trying to think ‘Don’t hit it over,'” Belinsky said.

The Bears nearly equalized only four minutes later, when Hebert-Seropian struck a free-kick just over the crossbar. Bruno thought it had finally gotten level after scoring in the 81st minute, but the goal was called back due to an offside call. A last-minute corner kick was punched away by the Lions’ goalie, and the Bears could not create another chance to make their comeback before full time.

“We definitely changed our style of play in the second half to address some of the problems we were having,” Hebert-Seropian said. “We fought hard, and we had nothing to lose.”

The Bears will use this week to prepare for their next Ivy League match-up against Princeton next Sunday at Stevenson Field.

“We know Princeton is a very good team, so we’re going to have to be ready for that,” Hebert-Seropian said. “It’s going to be a battle.”

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