Saturday morning, Lauren Hinton ’22 rode her bike along the path between the Jonathan Nelson ’77 Fitness Center and the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center before hopping off and locking it down with her U-lock. The next stop: a face off against Harvard with the rest of the women’s soccer team.
Bruno hoped to beat the Crimson — its equally 3-0 Ivy League rival — to lock down first place in the conference, instead of being tied at the top. Hinton’s morning calm would foreshadow the Bears’ cool domination as they defeated Harvard 4-2 to clinch first place in the league and snap the Crimson’s seven-game win streak.
The Bears were also the first Ivy team to find the back of the net against Harvard, which is ranked 40th in the country, according to NCAA RPI. Bruno currently sits at fifth in the national rankings.
“There was a lot riding on this game given the fact that both teams were 3-0 and tied for first, with both teams capable of scoring and neither team conceding many goals,” said Head Coach Kia McNeill. “The result continues to show how dominant our team is, and the scary thing is we can continue to get better from here.”
“This was such a big win for our program — we were neck and neck with Harvard, and from the beginning you could tell both teams really wanted it,” said junior captain Sydney Cummings ’21. “When a team like this wants something, the team standing in our way better watch out. We are really proud and happy as a team, but our work isn’t done.”
Bruno did not waste any time getting down to business: Rebecca Rosen ’22 scored a header off a corner from senior captain Abby Carchio ’20 within the first five minutes of play. This was Rosen’s first goal of the season and the fifth of her career.
Later on in the first half, Brown answered a Harvard goal with its second of the period when Celia Story ’19.5 finished off a goal kick with just over 20 seconds left. Story pounced on an unclaimed ball resting inside the penalty box and added to the scoreboard by capitalizing on Harvard goalie Kat Hess’ absence from her line.
Story gave Brown a 2-1 advantage going into halftime and a formidable start to locking down Saturday’s victory and the league title.
“Rebecca’s early goal really helped our momentum and Celia’s goal in the 45th minute was just what we needed going into the half,” Cummings said. “We knew they were going to play short and our forwards were up for the challenge.”
The unrelenting Bears took to the field to open the second half with two goals 20 seconds apart, both within the opening 12 minutes. Carchio sent over a free kick and Ava Seelenfreund ’23 headed the ball down to the foot of none other than Star White ’21, who masterfully slid the ball from within the goal area past the goalie and into the net at 57:16.
Soon after, at 57:33, Brittany Raphino ’23 gave Hess another Bear attack. Zoe Maxwell ’22 played a long ball through Crimson’s back line to Raphino, whose initial shot was rejected. Raphino finished the rebound and added a point to the scoreboard her second time around.
Harvard scored its second goal of the game during the 89th minute, but Bruno had already sealed its first-place position at the top of the league.
“Our win against Harvard with four goal scorers just goes to show the dynamics and depth of our team,” White said. “While we are enjoying (the) recent win, the focus for the last three Ivy games is to finish the season as strong as we started to ensure that we get the championship title.”
“I’m proud of the team and the way they executed our game plan,” McNeill said. “We wanted to pin Harvard’s backs into their half, and that’s exactly what we did. Having four different goal scorers continues to show the depth of our team and how dangerous we are in the final third.”
The Bears will take a break from league play for a Wednesday afternoon matchup against the University of Vermont.