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Princeton battle ends in draw for men’s soccer team

Highly contested match ends with Brown Bears drawing 1-1 against Princeton

With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, the men’s soccer team salvaged a 1-1 draw against Princeton Saturday night at Stevenson Field. The Bears had to fight back after conceding the first goal for the seventh consecutive game, but an 86th minute goal by Jack Hagstrom ’19 ensured that the Bears would remain undefeated and that the Tigers would remain winless through week two of Ivy League play.

“Princeton came in hungry for a win after having lost their first Ivy League game,” said co-captain Tim Whalen ’16.

Heading into the game, the two teams seemed evenly matched. The Bears (5-4-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) and the Tigers (4-3-2, 0-1-1) boasted the highest-scoring offenses among the Ancient Eight, netting 1.44 and 1.75 goals per game, respectively. The two teams also sported the top-two goalscorers in the league, with Brown’s Hagstrom at four and Princeton’s Thomas Sanner at six.

Defensively, the teams were similar as well — they had both conceded 12 goals this season. Based on statistics, it seemed likely the game would be quite a battle.

It certainly started out that way, as the two teams exchanged chances to score. The Bears’ best move of the half came in the 25th minute, when Will Cross ’16.5 dribbled down the left channel and played a through ball to Louis Zingas ’18 down the middle. But the pass was a tad heavy, and Zingas could not get it past the keeper.

The Tigers’ shining moment came midway through the first half, when Brendan McSherry took a shot that Gabe Welp ’18 blocked skyward with his head. As the ball came down, goalkeeper Erik Hanson ’17 rushed off his line and attempted to clear the ball by going over Sanner. Hanson tumbled over both teammates and opponents, whiffing on the clearance, but the referee did not bail him out with a whistle. Sanner calmly trapped the ball and launched it into the net for his league-leading seventh goal of the season.

The rest of the half remained highly contested, and both goalies were called upon. Hanson was forced to dive to his right to make a save, while his Princeton counterpart had to punch away a dangerous cross right before the halftime whistle. The game remained 1-0 going into the second half, with the Tigers tripling the Bears’ shot total, 9-3.

“We were able to withstand their initial pressure by sticking to our game plan and working hard,” Whalen said.

Princeton maintained its offensive pressure in the second half. Shot after shot came in, often requiring a block by a Bruno defender or the services of Hanson. One of the Tigers’ best chances in the half came in the 77th minute, when a player struck the crossbar from about 20 yards out.

Not to be defeated easily, Bruno upped its intensity in the latter parts of the half and was rewarded in the 86th minute with a golden opportunity. Off a free kick just within the Bears’ half, Hanson played a short ball to Zingas, who lobbed a perfectly placed long ball into the box. Hagstrom leapt and headed the ball past the Princeton goalie to tie the game at one. It was the reigning Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Week’s team-leading fifth goal of the season and second consecutive goal in conference play.

Though the Tigers hit the crossbar again in the dying minutes of the match, neither team could break the deadlock, leading the game into overtime. Each team managed a shot on goal in the two overtime periods, but neither could manage to find the golden goal, and the game ended in a draw.

Though Princeton held a whopping 25-13 advantage in shots, both teams had seven shots on goal. Both goalies were also busy throughout the game making six saves apiece.

“They were able to get one in the first half, but we put a lot of pressure on them in the second half and finally, we got one late in the game,” Whalen said. “We need to continue to avoid small mistakes defensively and put away the chances we get in the run of play.”

The team will stay at home for a Tuesday night clash with Boston University (8-2-1), and it will look to remain undefeated in the Ivy League during a Saturday night showdown at Harvard (4-4-2, 2-0).



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