The men’s soccer team kept alive its hopes for the Ivy League crown with an emphatic 3-1 home victory Saturday night against Yale, as fans gathered to celebrate the Bears’ senior night and support Bruno (8-7-1, 3-2-1 Ivy) in a must-win game. Veteran Will Cross ’16.5 helped lead the team to victory with two goals and an assist, while Louis Zingas ’18 delivered the other score. The triumph keeps the Bears just three points behind the conference leaders Dartmouth and Harvard, which cancelled its season over the weekend.
“We were motivated to win for our seniors in their last game in (Stevenson-Pincince) Field,” said co-captain James Myall ’18.
Yale (3-9-2, 1-4-1) ranks near the bottom of the conference in several statistical categories. Notably, the Bulldogs average only one goal scored per game, while allowing 1.71 per game, ranking only above cellar dweller Cornell in both stats. The Elis also rank the lowest in the Ancient Eight in shots per game and save percentage and were shutout eight times this season. Yet coming off their own 3-1 win against St. Joseph’s, the Bulldogs’ confidence was high.
The Bears came out with their foot on the pedal in the first half. Bruno dictated much of the play, managing three corner kicks and five shots — including two from Nico Lozada ’18 — in the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs could only muster up a few fouls.
It was not until the 27th minute that Yale recorded its first shot of the match. The rest of the first half was quiet, as neither team could create anything particularly threatening. The score remained 0-0 when the halftime whistle blew.
The second half began with an exchange of shots between the two squads. Two from the Bears required saves from Yale’s keeper, while the two from the Bulldogs sailed harmlessly wide.
Cross struck in the 57th minute. Jackson Goebel ’20 took the ball down the left side and lofted it in; Cross then headed it down at the near post for his first goal of the season, giving Bruno the 1-0 advantage.
A shot came in off a corner kick, and Erik Hanson ’17 worked hard to make the save. But the ball bounced out, and Andrew Carton hopped on the rebound, turning it in and tying the score at one apiece in the 74th minute.
It was anyone’s game from there, with the Bears looking more likely to score following the Bulldogs’ goal. Shots by Matthew Chow ’19 and Jack Hagstrom ’19 were both saved soon thereafter.
In the 89th minute, Cross possessed the ball in the Elis’ box before passing to Quinn English ’18 in the middle. English then passed out wide right to the incoming Zingas, who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner for the game-winning goal.
Less than two minutes later, in the dying second of the game, Cross sealed the win. A mix-up between a Yale defender and goalie allowed the experienced forward to nick the ball and shoot into an empty net. The final whistle blew soon after with the Bears winning 3-1.
“This was one of those games where we were able to impose ourselves on the opponent,” Myall said. “Our attacking play was some of the best we’ve seen this season.”
The victory was a marked improvement from the tie in the same fixture last season. It was one of the best offensive performances of the team this season, as it marked the second time it has scored three or more goals and the only such instance that happened in regulation.
The win was also necessary to give the team any hope of snatching the Ivy title. The Bears sit three points behind Dartmouth, which just so happens to be their final opponent. With Columbia having a game in hand due to Harvard’s cancellations, it’s still a tight race to the top.
Bruno finishes its 2016 season next Saturday in Hanover against Dartmouth.