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Women’s soccer wins league title, beats Penn in double overtime

Carchio ’20 puts away penalty kick in 110th minute as only goal in 1-0 match

Abby Carchio ’20 ripped off her jersey while running the length of the field, away from the goal where she had just netted her penalty kick during the 110th minute of Saturday night’s women’s soccer game against Penn.

The goal sealed a 1-0 victory and secured the Ivy League conference title for the Bears. The entire team, including the bench, enthusiastically chased Carchio down and hoisted her above their shoulders while she held the Ivy League Championship trophy in her hand. After returning to ground level, Carchio sprinted into the open arms of Head Coach Kia McNeill for an embrace.

“It couldn’t have been written any better,” Carchio said. “There’s something special about my teammates, and we just proved that tonight. It’s been an amazing ride. I couldn’t have done it without (my teammates’) support through the lows and picking me up, clearly.”

The post-game celebration was neatly complemented by a pre-game ceremony that honored the Bears’ seniors. Bruno channeled its energy from saying farewell to seniors Carchio, Abby Kaplan ’20, Celia Story ’19.5 and Andie Gilmore ’20 into winning the Ivy League title.

“It’s just a totally different team here (now),” Kaplan said, recalling her first year. “It’s a fun team to be a part of. It’s definitely become a culture of loving the game and playing for each other rather than just going out and having a hobby. And our team embodies that. It’s exciting to have (my) last season be the longest season we’ve had.”

During the competition, the Quakers played for a draw, but Brown intended to win and its drive through double overtime proved it.

Throughout the game, the Bears attacked from left to right and often hit the ground after the Quakers tripped, tackled and elbowed them while competing neck and neck for loose balls. The magnitude of what upsetting Brown would mean was not lost on the Quakers, who tapped into that mindset for the whole game.

“A lot of times when teams don’t know what to do with you, they get physical and aggressive,” Story said. “We know that that’s not the way we play. We play direct and we play real soccer. We kept our head in the game and didn’t let the (physicality) get to us.”

Where Penn tested Brown with aggressive physicality, cries of support erupted from the bleachers, compelling the referees to make more calls. But their outburst of discontent did not matter to Penn, who kept the pedal to the metal by pushing the Bears around and hoping to outtough the only 12-1-1 team in the conference.

The 10th minute of the half saw Penn take advantage of Brown’s disorganized defense to create a one-on-one situation in the box. The Quakers shot into the net’s upper right corner, but the Bears’ goalie Kayla Thompson ’21 practically hung still in the air after stretching her entire body to make the save.

And so the half ended, scoreless and with a cycle of no-calls, fans voicing outrage and refs having stern consultations with Quakers instead of presenting yellow cards.

The second half picked up right where the first half left off, with Penn attempting to physically intimidate Brown, which played with tenacity. A couple of minutes into the half, Zoe Maxwell ’22 sent a long ball up to Brittany Raphino ’23, who was one versus four. Raphino showed off some fancy footwork and sent the ball hurling toward the back left corner of the net. Penn goaltender Kitty Qu was nowhere to be found, but Raphino’s ball hit off the goal post and ricocheted back toward Qu for the catch.

During the 56th minute, the referee pulled out his yellow card on Penn for wrapping up and pulling down Ava Seelenfreund ’23 when she tried to head a ball near midfield. Seconds later, Bruno took yet another formidable shot, but it was too high.

By the end of the half, Brown had stacked up numerous shots that looked good, but the perfect goldilocks shot remained elusive to Bruno, so regulation ended scoreless for both teams and forced overtime.

“We knew what was on the line,” Story said. “We’ve worked so hard for this. (Our class) was the first one (McNeill) coached. She came in and really changed the program and (tonight) it’s really full circle. To see it all … I can’t describe the feeling.”

An uneventful overtime marked 100 minutes of goalless play. Similar to regulation and the first overtime, Penn played for the draw during the second overtime. The Quakers routinely took 20 seconds or more to play a ball back in and only did so because the referee pressed them to resume play.

During the 110th minute, a handball was called on Penn from Maesyn G’Bye’s ’22 throw in and the referee awarded Brown with a penalty kick. Carchio took it, a fitting play for senior night.

“We knew it was going to be a physical game,” Kaplan said. “It’s hard when the other team is playing for a tie, but we put it at them and finally got a call our way.”

No sooner than when Carchio started her kick did fans see her sprint down the field and rip her jersey off with the entire Brown team chasing behind her. Bruno lifted Carchio up and over its shoulders to celebrate a 1-0 victory, securing the Ivy League Title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

“When (Carchio) kicked that goal in,” Gilmore said, “tears started rolling down my face. It’s been incredible. This has been an incredible season. Every 5:45 a.m. workout, every run, every tough practice and bad ball is all worth it. The relationships that I’m forming on this team and the experiences we’re going through, specifically this season… I will remember for the rest of my life.”

“The now-seniors were with me from the beginning,” McNeill said. “They’ve seen the ups and downs and (know) what we’ve gone through as a program. I’m just so happy for them and happy for the way that we can send them out of their (collegiate) careers as Ivy League Champs and going to the NCAA Tournament.”

The Bears will face off against Yale to close out the regular season this weekend.



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