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Bruno handed first loss of season at UMass Lowell

Despite leading 1-0 at half, team tumbles in second, gives up two scores to River Hawks

After taking the lead a mere nine minutes into the game, the men’s soccer team faltered in the second half against host UMass Lowell and suffered its first loss of the season, 2-1. In a battle of two undefeated teams, it was the River Hawks who emerged victorious thanks to their two leading goal scorers — Wuilito Fernandes and Ivan Abramovic. Brown’s top scorer from last season, Jack Hagstrom ’19, netted the team’s lone goal.

“We learned about ourselves and how to handle challenges that occur in game, whether we are winning or losing,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “We are going to use that to improve moving forward.”

Going into the fixture, Fernandes and Abramovic were the attacking duo to watch out for. The pair had combined to score eight of their team’s 10 total goals of the season. Keeping them off the score sheet was key.

Brown also had to deal with a few injuries that limited minutes of certain players. The starting lineup was a familiar one but did see Joseph Lee ’20 make his first collegiate start.

The match started brightly for the visitors. Erik Hanson ’17 brilliantly rose to stop a shot that was heat seeking the top right corner of the net. Shortly thereafter, the Bears opened the scoring. Off a short corner, Nico Lozada ’18 crossed the ball to the back post where Hagstrom leaped and headed the ball just inside the post for his first goal of the season. On top of that, it was Lozada’s third assist in his last four games. It was the first time in 442 consecutive minutes played that UMass Lowell found itself behind.

“I thought we started off well,” Laughlin said. “We really took it to them.”

After the goal, the game steadied between the two squads. The River Hawks began to control the tempo more and more, while the Bears stuck to their defensive game plan. There were a couple of decent chances for both teams, but nothing came of them. Despite the accumulating momentum for the host, the score remained 1-0 going into halftime.

Similar to how the Bears controlled the first 10 or so minutes of the first half, the River Hawks came out strong in the second half. Their equalizer materialized in the 52nd minute.

After a couple of lucky bounces, a UMass Lowell midfielder splayed the ball out wide right. The winger swung in a ball that curved perfectly behind two Brown defenders and into the path of Fernandes. From there, he took one touch to slot it into the back of the net for his sixth goal in six games.

From there, the River Hawks continued to apply pressure. The Bears could not convert any of the few chances that they could muster. A free kick from about 30 yards out was headed wide.

The game was primed to go into extra time until the 86th minute. Carlos Ruiz dispossessed Carl Johan Mix ’19 in the midfield and lofted in an inch-perfect pass onto the chest of Abramovic, who calmly took it down and slid it into the bottom right corner past Hanson.

It was the fatal blow for the visitors, who could not manage to find an equalizer for the rest of the half. The game ended 2-1 in favor of the River Hawks. This left Bruno with a 3-1 record, the same as its start to last campaign.

Just two games ago, Bruno came back from a goal down to win 2-1 against Georgia State. This time, the Bears found themselves on the other side of the coin. After the home team tied the game at 1-1, Bruno found it difficult to reassert itself. This is the type of obstacle that the team hopes to learn from and avoid in future contests. For now, their next test is this Saturday against University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“We are looking forward to the game on Saturday and hope to give another great effort,” Laughlin said.

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