For the second consecutive game, a Massachusetts opponent downed the men’s soccer team. This time around, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst defeated the Bears at its home field by a tally of 2-0. Though it outshot its foe 17-12, Bruno was still held scoreless for the first time this season. This left the team with an eerily similar start to last year’s campaign.
As the Bears continued to be nagged by injury, their starting lineup shifted slightly yet again to adapt. Carl Johan Mix ’19 slotted into the backline in place of Jack Hagstrom ’19, and Austin Lind ’20 made his first collegiate start.
Bruno got off to a promising start and had the better chances of the two teams early on. Mix unleashed a blast on goal in the fifth minute that required a terrific save from the Minutemen goalkeeper. Only nine minutes later, the Bears thought they had broken the deadlock, but the goal was called back because of an offside call.
Both squads continued probing until the Minutemen caught a break. Off a corner kick, the ball was headed a couple times by Amherst players before Henry Steinkamp redirected the ball into the net to give his team the 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later in the 30th minute, the hosts struck again. A long ball was lobbed into the box and somehow found itself at the feet of Alex DeSantis. After quickly controlling the ball, he slid it into the bottom left corner for a two-goal advantage for the Minutemen.
The Bears continued to pepper Amherst with shots in search of a lifeline back into the match. Unfortunately for the team, both the framework and the Minutemen goalie prevented Bruno from snatching a goal. Though the Bears held a 10-5 shot advantage going into halftime, they also went in with a two-goal deficit.
In the second half, the Bears continued pressuring their opponent with shot after shot. The more dangerous chances fell to the visitors in the second half, as Amherst was held to no shots on target in the latter frame. This included an attempt by Tyler Long ’17 in the 78th minute that grazed off the crossbar, maintaining the hosts’ two-goal lead.
In the dying minutes of the game, Bruno desperately attempted to salvage a better result. But the Minutemen blocked three shots and repelled two corners in just the last four minutes. Time expired, leaving the Bears with a 2-0 loss.
“A lack of focus on set pieces was a big part of the goals we conceded,” said co-captain James Myall ’18. “It is something we can continue to work on as the season goes on.”
With the loss came a multitude of firsts for both squads. For starters, it was the first win of the season for Amherst. It was also its first shutout of the season and first multiple-goal game. On the other side, it was the first time the Bears had been held scoreless on the young season.
“One thing that didn’t work for us this game was getting shots on target,” Myall said. “It seemed that most of our shots were off the mark, and I feel like that hurt our chances.”
There are parallels to be drawn between this year’s and last year’s starts to the season. Both times, the Bears started off with three consecutive wins and held their opponents to a combined one goal. Then, the next two road games resulted in some uncharacteristic defensive lapses and, ultimately, two losses. But unlike last year, the Bears could not outgun the Minutemen.
Still looking to bounce back, the team continues its road stint with a game at Boston University on Tuesday.