The men’s soccer team dropped their third straight game Sunday to San Diego State University, losing 0-2 on two short range goals by the Aztecs.
Bruno pressured San Diego State all afternoon, posting nine shots on goal and ten corner kicks, but could not get the ball in the net. Despite their numerous offensive chances and nine saves by goalkeeper Max Gross ’21, the Bears allowed two Aztec scores off chaotic rebounds inside the penalty box and remain in search of their first home victory of the season.
Brown (1-5-1) traded blows with the Aztecs (3-4-1) throughout the first half, as each team launched nine shots and made five saves in the opening period. But despite the teams’ even play, the Aztecs’ Hunter George broke through in the 39th minute to give San Diego State a 1-0 edge heading into halftime. With the ball pinballing around inside Brown’s penalty box, San Diego State’s Pablo Pelaez took control and sent a well-executed cross to George, who deftly headed the ball into the right side of the goal before Gross could react.
The Aztecs then began the second half with a bang, as Pelaez again took control of a rebound off a Brown player, but this time doing the job himself and tapping the ball into the net for an easy goal. The two-goal lead allowed them to adopt a mostly defensive strategy for the rest of the contest.
Gross attributed the two goals allowed by the Bears to slight mental lapses. “When the other team is putting the ball in the box a lot, you have to be really composed,” Gross said. “We have to make sure our clearances are on and we know where the other team is.”
Although Bruno had seven corner kicks in the second stanza compared to just one for San Diego State, the Aztec back line held firm and finished off the clean sheet. Brown had several promising opportunities to score, including a drive into the penalty box by captain Daniel Schiller ’20 and multiple shots on goal in the final ten minutes by Derek Waleffe ’22, but the Bears were unable to capitalize and took their fifth loss of the year.
Matthew Chow ’20 led Bruno with four shot attempts and two shots on goal, while Schiller, Rodrigo D’Andrea ’20 and Owen Schwartz ’23 all sent a shot on target as well. But Aztec goalkeeper Max Watkin finished with a perfect save percentage and denied Brown’s shots each time.
“Finishing chances is the most difficult part in soccer, that’s why the scores are always so close,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “We’re still trying to find those moments to get us a goal. But, attack-wise I thought we were very good — we created a lot of opportunities. I was really pleased with the energy and the effort of the guys.”
Brown will look to get back on track next week as they begin their Ivy League schedule. Schiller noted that the Ivy League games are the most important part of Brown’s season, and offer an opportunity to move past the team’s early struggles.
“All eyes on the Ivy … we all feel it as a team, our best soccer is not behind us, it’s only ahead of us,” Schiller said.
Bruno heads to New York Saturday to take on Columbia before a home match against Princeton the following week.