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Bears shut out by Lions, fall to 0-2 in Ivy play

Despite a strong non-conference record, the women's soccer team has stumbled out of the gate in Ivy play. The Bears fell to Columbia 2-0 Saturday, which dropped the squad to 0-2 in conference play after a 2-1 loss to Dartmouth last week.  

In light of Princeton, Columbia and Penn's 2-0 conference starts, the Bears are now under more pressure to perform. 

The Lions have not fallen to Brown since 2009, and by halftime Columbia appeared destined to escape another game unscathed.

The match started out fairly slowly, with little action at either end as both teams cautiously stayed around midfield.

Bruno starting defender Diana Ohrt '13 was out of the match due to an injury, but Head Coach Phil Pincince said he did not think her absence was decisive in either goal. "We're a team, and we always know that injuries are part of the game," he said.

The first scoring opportunity arose from a Columbia corner kick in the eighth minute. After the rebound outside the box, the Bears' defense moved out for an offside trap, but Erin Falk managed to slip in through the left with the ball, sending it just wide of the target.

About 15 minutes into the half, Falk got the ball in the left wing again, and after a quick dribble which left her marker on the floor, she crossed it to midfielder Coleen Rizzo for a quick volley straight at Bruno goalkeeper Amber Bledsoe '14.

In the 29th minute, Columbia launched a quick counterattack led by forward Beverly Leon. Leon carried the ball until just short of the 18-yard box, where she was stopped by the Bruno defense. The ball trickled over to the right, and an undefended Isabel King crossed it to Rizzo. Rizzo then headed it down past Bledsoe to open the scoring.

The second goal came only four minutes later on a Lions' free kick. Junior defender Maya Marder lifted the ball into the box and Leon managed to get her head on it, sending it past Bledsoe and into the back of the net. 

When the referee blew for the end of the first half, Bruno had only managed three shots on target, all of which were routine saves for goalkeeper Grace Redmon. The Lions had been similarly decisive on offense, creating opportunities with quick, one-touch passes. The Bears appeared to hold the ball more and struggled against an aggressive defense that brought back all 10 players to quickly envelop each Bruno attack in a sea of Columbia blue.

As in their previous game against Dartmouth, the Bears came back from the break with a revitalized fervor on offense. "We were hoping to be able to get one within 20 minutes," Pincince said.

Maddie Wiener '14 managed to get two shots in the first three minutes, but both sailed wide. In the 51st minute, Mika Siegelman '14 received a cross inside the box but hit it weakly toward Redmon.

The Bears pressured the Lions on their defensive field but had difficulty capitalizing on their plays.

Another opportunity appeared in the 60th minute when Redmon came out of her goal slowly on a cross, and the ball floated over to Wiener who, once again, sent it wide. Just a minute later, Wiener hit a well-placed ball in the top corner, and Redmon extended her full 6-foot-2-inch frame to get a hand on the ball and send it over the crossbar.

The Bears kept up the energy in their attack as the Lions gave up much of their attacking efforts in order to maintain a two-goal lead. Columbia failed to get a single shot off in the second half. They instead relied on their effective marking and goalie, who made yet another spectacular save from a long-range shot by Siegelman in the 74th minute.

Though Bruno controlled the entire second half, none of their 15 shots went in, and the game finished 2-0 in Columbia's favor.

With five conference games left in the season, Pincince said he does not want to worry about the end of the season. "You need to be looking at one game at a time," he said. "And that's Princeton next week."



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