Last-minute goal devastates women’s soccer team

Women’s soccer unable to secure win over weekend with scoreless matches against Bryant, Columbia

Contributing Writer
Monday, October 5, 2015

The women’s soccer team entered the week on a high note. Having beaten Sacred Heart and held heavily favored Dartmouth to a draw, the team looked to turn its excellent defensive play into wins against Bryant and Columbia. But defense was not enough to make up for a lackluster attack, and the Bears ended the week without a win.

Brown 0, Bryant 0 (2 OT)

Taking on the Bulldogs (3-8-1, 2-0 NEC), the Bears (3-5-2, 0-1-1) seemed to have the upper hand after shutting out Dartmouth and beating Sacred Heart in overtime. But as has often been the case this season, they failed to take advantage of opportunities.

“We outshot them like crazy; we had 13 corners,” said forward Erin Katz ’16. “In the end, we brought it to them. We just couldn’t get one in.”

“It gradually got better and better,” said Head Coach Phil Pincince. “Maybe we just needed two more minutes.”

Yet again, the Bears were victims of a thrilling near miss. After fighting for a loose ball inside the Bryant 18-yard box with 10 seconds left in the first overtime, Charlotte Beach ’16 fired a shot that seemed ticketed for the back of the net and a Bears’ victory. But the ball hit the right post, and the period came to an end with the teams still scoreless.

“There’s a difference between luck and scoring ability,” Katz said. “We’ve been knocking at the door for so long. Hopefully we start to put some in when the games really matter.”

Pincince said the Bears’ intensity level did not match that of the Dartmouth game. “In the overtime … that’s where we should have been from the beginning,” he said. 

Though the draw against Bryant was a letdown, the Bears could hardly be blamed for focusing more on the Columbia game: After a draw against Dartmouth, an Ivy win was doubly important. 

“It was a disappointment. We really wanted to win that game,” Katz said. “But I think this will make us more focused going into Saturday against Columbia.”

Pincince used the game against Bryant, a non-league opponent, as a test for some of his underutilized players. “We played quite a few players compared to (the game against) Dartmouth,” he said. “We got another great look at seeing if somebody would step up.”

The team quickly put the game behind it — one day after playing Bryant, Katz was already looking ahead to Columbia.

“We really want to score,” Katz said. “We really want to take it to them, and we really want to beat Columbia.”

“In past years, we’ve ended in ties with Columbia,” she added. “We’re not looking for that this year — we’re looking for the win.”

Columbia 1, Brown 0

The Bears took on the Lions (5-5, 1-1 Ivy) at Columbia’s Baker Field in New York. In what is becoming a familiar pattern, Bruno was aggressive but could not capitalize. The Bears took 20 shots to Columbia’s 11 and 10 corner kicks to Columbia’s three, but it was the Lions who emerged victorious, as Emma Anderson scored with 29 seconds remaining to give the Lions the only goal they would need.

“Just putting the ball in the back of the net has been kind of a struggle for us this season,” said captain Sarah Moody ’16. “We had a lot of chances, a lot of opportunities, and it’s just that final execution that’s been missing for us.”

Columbia’s defense played a part in shutting down the Bears’ offense, which has now gone 310 minutes without a goal after putting up three against Sacred Heart. But the Bears had their opportunities and failed to convert — of their 20 shots, all but four missed the net entirely. Even into the 89th minute, with the game still scoreless, Beach lined up a header off a well-placed corner from Jillian DeSimone ’16, but it sailed high, and the Lions scored on the ensuing possession.

“To an extent things haven’t gone our way, but it is something we need to work on,” Moody said, referring to the Bears’ inability to convert scoring opportunities.

Columbia’s goal in the 90th minute snapped goalie Christine Etzel’s ’19 scoreless streak, which ended at 315 minutes. Etzel has allowed only eight goals in nine games, but in her starts, the Bears have scored only seven.

Etzel, along with the defense, has been perhaps the most important element of the Bears’ lineup this season, allowing them to play competitively even when the offense has disappointed.

“On any defense, it’s kind of tough on them when the offense can’t seem to score,” Moody said. “It’s commendable that they’ve stayed strong back there.”

The Bears will stay at home Saturday afternoon to face Princeton at Stevenson Field.  The Tigers (7-3, 1-0 Ivy) are currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak. Even during the Bears’ current offensive skid, Moody is not overly concerned.

“It was a tough loss, but we believe in each other, and we believe in the team, and we’re ready to move on to the next game,” Moody said. “We have our sights set on Princeton.”

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