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Women’s soccer earns statement win in first home match since Nov. 2019

Bears dominate Holy Cross in 4-0 shutout

Following a season-opening loss at Hofstra University, the women’s soccer team (1-1) rebounded with a 4-0 win over College of the Holy Cross (0-4) at home Sunday. The match was Brown’s first home game since Nov. 16, 2019, and the first game ever played on the newly constructed Stevenson-Pincince Field in the Center for Lacrosse and Soccer.

After the 2020 season’s cancellation, Head Coach Kia McNeill was excited to return to competition in her sixth season coaching at Brown. “It was good to get a lot of players minutes so we can develop experience and depth as we proceed through the season,” McNeill said. “Our pressure and intensity was very good, which caused turnovers and allowed us to get a lot of opportunities on goal. We’ve only been together as a team for two weeks. It’s a great group, and we look forward to moving the needle forward every day.”

Captain Malina Yago ’22 noted how important it was to bounce back quickly from the Hofstra loss. “Our mindset coming into this game was seeing it as a fresh start,” Yago said. “We weren’t happy with the result against Hofstra, and we definitely see it as a game to learn from. But going in, the past is the past and we wanted to come out on our home field for the first time since the 2019 season and make a statement.”

Not only was this Brown’s first home game in any sport since March 2020, when all athletic competition was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was also the first played in the brand new Center for Lacrosse and Soccer. Defender Juliette Pike ’23 said that being in the new stadium has been beneficial for the women’s soccer team. “The energy that we can pack in the stadium is unreal and elevates the fan base from our freshman year,” she said. “The whole team can agree (that) it is such a privilege to have access to great equipment and training spaces that elevate our game and team’s performance.”

The Bears dominated the Crusader defensive line for the entire game, earning a commanding 12 corner kicks compared to Holy Cross’s two. This offensive pressure allowed Brown to get on the scoreboard in the early minutes of the game, and they maintained this momentum throughout the contest.

Brown’s aggression paid off with a goal by forward Brittany Raphino ’23 in the 18th minute, her ninth career goal. Her counterpart on the frontline, Ava Seelenfreund ’23, sent a low cross into the box that the Holy Cross goalie was able to deflect, but the ball landed within reach of Raphino who sent it into the goal’s bottom left corner.

Midfielder Maesyn G’Bye ’22 was all over the field taking corner kicks and throw-ins for the Bears. In the 27th minute, she scored a goal from a free kick right outside the box. This doubled Bruno’s lead to 2-0.

Forward Miya Grant Clavijo ’25 made her Providence debut by scoring off an assist from midfielder Zoe Maxwell ’22, putting the game nearly out of reach at 3-0 in the 40th minute. The Bears tacked on their 4th goal in the first minute of the second half. Seelenfreund once again made her presence known and scored a 20-yard stroke off an assist from midfielder Kayla Duran ’22. 

The women’s soccer team, Yago said, has a range of experience levels. “Both the junior and senior classes are very big which brings a lot of valuable experience to this team. And then the freshman and sophomore classes are both in their first seasons and they bring such a great ready-to-learn attitude and a strong work ethic. Altogether, it gives our team a lot of attributes that will help us be successful.” The team’s mix of experience and up-and-coming talent showed its potency when Maxwell and Clavijo combined for Brown’s third goal. 

Brown’s impressive win over Holy Cross gave Maxwell confidence that the women’s soccer team is in good hands this season. “This team definitely has the potential to defend the Ivy League title,” Maxwell said. “We know how good it feels to win and everyone has so much talent, passion and grit. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can defend the title.”


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