Matthew Chow ’19 notched two goals — including the game winner in extra time — to propel the men’s soccer team past its Ocean State foe, the University of Rhode Island, on the road. The second-year forward grabbed his second and third goals of the season, giving him the most on the team this season — and more importantly, the team the victory. With the win, the Bears were able to snap their three-game skid and rise above .500 with a 4-3 record.
“The team had an amazing approach to the game,” Chow said. “We defended as a unit and attacked with confidence.”
Bruno was coming off a trifecta of losses against three different Massachusetts opponents, including a loss to Boston University in a mid-week clash. But against the Rams, the team was bolstered by the returns of co-captain James Myall ’18 and defender Jack Hagstrom ’19 to the starting lineup.
Both teams started out steadily in the first 15 minutes, with neither doing anything particularly threatening. Soon after, Chow found some space to blast a shot across the 18-yard box and into the bottom corner to give the Bears the early 1-0 advantage. Nico Lozada ’18 was credited with an assist on the play — his team-leading fourth of the season.
For most of the rest of the half, the teams exchanged shots without either completely taking control of the game. Some required saves, but just as many were sent high or wide. While the Rams probed for an equalizer, the Bears’ defense remained resilient in its bid for a clean sheet.
In the last five minutes of the half, University of Rhode Island found its tying goal. Wesley Matthews headed in a ball off a corner to knot the game up at one apiece. As a result, the teams went into the intermission at a stalemate.
The second half felt like a completely different story from that of the first. The Rams came out aggressive and launched attack after attack on the Bears’ net. It seemed as though a goal may have been imminent for the hosts. But goalkeeper Erik Hanson ’17 was up for the challenge and made several key saves to keep the game tied. Matthews also managed to nick one off the crossbar, but the ball stayed out.
University of Rhode Island amassed numerous corners and shots, but none amounted to anything. Nearing the end of the second half, Bruno finally settled into it, and both teams prepared themselves for the impending extra time to come. By the end of regulation, the Rams had outshot Bruno 11-2 and won the corner game 9-1 in the second half alone. On the flip side, Hanson had made four saves in the stanza.
In extra time, Chow quickly ended the hosts’ hope for triumph. After fielding a pass from co-captain Nate Pomeroy ’17, Chow slotted in a shot near the post for not only his third goal of the season, but also his second extra-time winner. The game ended there at 2-1 in favor of Bruno.
“It feels very good to provide the team with two game-winning goals in OT,” Chow said. “As a player you dream of those opportunities, so when it becomes a reality, you feel on top of the world.”
It was a tough match throughout, but the mental strength of the team allowed it to climb its obstacles, especially those of the second half. After being shut out for two games in a row, Bruno bounced back in a big way with two goals.
“I think the key for us staying in the game was to play really safe in the back during the second half, and to see what kind of opportunities we could manage from counterattacks,” Myall said.
“We did well staying compact in defense,” Chow said. Hanson “did a great job making the key saves when we needed them.”
This result continues the streak of games that mirror last season. In 2015, after seven games, the Bears had given up 10 goals and scored 11. This season, they have allowed and netted eight goals. Despite improving their defensive record, the Bears have not had the same offensive firepower. Yet, their record is the same as last campaign’s after seven contests — 4-3.
Up next, the Bears take on Holy Cross in a mid week matchup before opening up Ivy League play next Saturday against Columbia at Stevenson-Pincince Field at 7 p.m.