This week marked a number of firsts for the women's soccer team. The Bears (4-3-1, 0-1) took on the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen (3-6-0) for the first time in 20 years, pulling away with a 2-1 win. Brown also faced its first Ivy challenge on Sunday afternoon, falling short at Dartmouth, 2-1.
Brown 3, University of Massachusetts 2
Bruno was hungry for a win as it stepped out on Stevenson Field Thursday afternoon. Coming off a scoreless draw with Sacred Heart, the team took charge on the offensive side of the field. In the 19th minute, midfielder Mika Siegelman '14 scored her first career goal on a free kick to start things off for the Bears. She sent the ball high into the corner from 35 yards away to give the team a 1-0 lead.
But UMass would not go down that easily. The Minutewomen answered two minutes later when midfielder Therese Smith beat goalkeeper Amber Bledsoe '14 with an easy close-range shot, tying the game at one. The back-and-forth battle ensued for the rest of the half. Gina Walker '11 scored five minutes after UMass' equalizer, sending a corner kick from midfielder Maddie Wiener '14 into the net. Rising to the challenge again, UMass scored with six minutes remaining in the first half, keeping the game even.
The teams remained at a draw throughout most of the second half as UMass and Brown traded scoring opportunities. As the minutes ticked by, the game seemed to be heading into extra time. But with just 2:35 left, forward Marybeth Lesbirel '12 sent the ball high into the right corner, breaking the tie and bringing the Bears a victory. The goal was Lesbirel's first of the season, but her presence on the front line has been imperative to the team's offensive success.
Dartmouth 2, Brown 1
The game against the Minutewomen revved up the team for its Ivy League opener against Dartmouth on Sunday.
"The league is very competitive and there is a lot of parity in the league," said Head Coach Phil Pincince about starting up the league competition. "It's anyone's championship to win."
The Bears traveled to Hanover, N.H., to face the Big Green. They stepped onto the field with intensity, earning three corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. But Dartmouth took advantage of its opportunities first, scoring off of the first corner kick to take the lead, 1-0, in the 24th minute.
The Big Green doubled its margin 10 minutes into the second half with a touch into the far corner of the net. Dangerous attempts by Walker and Siegelman were halted by Dartmouth goalie Colleen Hogan, but the Bears were unable to get on the board.
With eight minutes remaining, Brown was awarded a penalty shot after a foul in the box. Siegelman took the shot, sending it high, past the goalie and into the net. Fueled by Siegelman's goal, the Bears tried to even the score, but Dartmouth held firm for the last eight minutes to take the win. The shot advantage was barely in Dartmouth's favor, 12-11, but Hogan's five saves made the difference for the Big Green.
Competition in the Ivy League is fierce and the Bears' first conference game reflected that.
"They did play very, very physical," Coach Pincince said. "It was a lot of battles all over the field."
Considering the team lost to Dartmouth 3-1 last year, the Bears are optimistic about their upcoming league matchups, Pincince said. League play will continue this weekend. The Bears will play Columbia on Saturday afternoon after facing the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Both games will be played at home.