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Men’s soccer drops season finale to Dartmouth 1-0

Bears outshoot Big Green but can’t find back of net

<p>The team’s top two goalkeepers, James Swomley ‘22 and Max Waldau ‘22, were both out with injuries. Midfielder Derek Waleffe ‘22 was also injured during the game.</p>

The team’s top two goalkeepers, James Swomley ‘22 and Max Waldau ‘22, were both out with injuries. Midfielder Derek Waleffe ‘22 was also injured during the game.

The men’s soccer team (6-10-1, 2-4-1 Ivy) fell 1-0 to Dartmouth (3-11-1, 1-5-1 Ivy) Saturday night at Stevenson-Pincince Field in the final game of the regular season. The Big Green scored less than a minute after halftime, and despite the Bears outshooting Dartmouth 16-4 in the second half, Bruno could not find the equalizer. 

The game, which was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., was postponed by about 90 minutes due to inclement weather including a tornado warning. 

Defender Will Crain ’22 did not believe the weather delay affected the outcome of the contest. “We were focused, we were relaxing in the locker room, so we didn’t let that (delay) get to us,” he said. “Both teams were in the same boat.” 

Brown was playing short-handed, as its top two goalkeepers James Swomley ’22 and Max Waldau ’22 were both out with injuries. Connor Smith ’25 made his first career start in place of the two veterans. Midfielder Derek Waleffe ’22 was also injured in the game’s 31st minute, depriving the Bears of another key player.

“Derek Waleffe is the best midfielder in the (Ivy) League,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. His injury “really hurts you, because that’s your key guy.”

Laughlin commended the younger players who stepped up in the absence of these injured seniors, including Smith, who let up just one goal in his collegiate goalkeeping debut. “I was really happy for (Smith),” Laughlin said. “He showed his qualities.”

Scoring chances were few and far between for both teams during the first half. Midfielder Kojo Dadzie ’24 had an opportunity to head the ball into the goal in the 12th minute, but Dartmouth goalkeeper Alex Budnik nabbed the ball out of the air just before Dadzie could strike. The Big Green had their best look at net minutes later as midfielder Finn Callahan sent the ball just wide of the left post. Midfielder Jack Cloherty ’25 fired a dangerous shot in the 30th minute, but it was also wide. Outside of a yellow card handed to Dartmouth midfielder Mothibi Penn-Kekana, both teams stayed quiet for the remainder of the half.

Action quickly picked up pace as the Bears and Big Green returned from the locker room after halftime. 57 seconds into the second half, Callahan poked a perfect pass into the center of the penalty box for Dartmouth midfielder Eric Sachleben, who fired an unsavable shot past Smith for the lead. 

Facing a deficit for the first time, Bruno increased its urgency in response. Soon after Dartmouth’s score, Crain launched a shot toward the top center of the goal, requiring a leaping save by Budnik. Defender Taha Kina ’24 had another chance to tie the game, but he sent a shot clanging off the crossbar.

Brown continued to put pressure on the Big Green defense throughout the second half. In the 68th minute, forward Dennis Pyetsukh ’22 laid a well-placed ball to forward Malcolm Johnson ’22 deep in the penalty box, but Johnson’s shot went wide left. Another chance came in the 70th minute when Budnik came off his line, and midfielder Charlie Adams ’24 attempted to capitalize on the empty net. But Adams struck the ball too hard and sent it over the goal.

Crain suggested that the Bears’ difficulty finishing scoring chances may have been due to the high emotions of the game. “We were too emotional — Senior Night, last game — we were just frantic on the ball,” he said. “If we just put those emotions to the side… it would’ve been a lot better.”

Pyetsukh had two more strong opportunities to score in the waning minutes of the contest. In the 82nd minute, he hit a short-range header that Budnik saved, and in the 88th minute, he sent another header just over the crossbar. But despite all of these second half chances, Bruno could not find the back of the net and remained down 1-0 as the final whistle sounded.

“Everyone played their (hearts) out and gave everything they had,” Pyetsukh said. “There’s not much more we can ask for.”

Despite the disappointing final result for the Bears, Crain emphasized his gratitude for his team’s ability to compete this season after the cancelled 2020 campaign. “You don’t take it for granted when you’re out here. Win or lose, you love it, and we all love the game.”



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