The men’s soccer team (5-8-1, 2-2-1 Ivy) took down Penn (7-4-3, 1-2-2 Ivy) 2-0 at home Saturday afternoon, clinching Bruno its first Ivy home win of the season. Midfielder Paul Elliott ’23 gave the Bears the lead with a long, unassisted shot in the 17th minute, and defender Owen Schwartz ’23 extended the advantage with a close-range header in the 22nd minute. Goalkeeper Max Waldau ’22 put in a strong effort in goal with five saves to maintain Bruno’s clean sheet.
The game was played in pouring rain, which Brown was able to take advantage of, according to midfielder Kojo Dadzie ’24. “In soccer, the rain actually speeds things up,” Dadzie said. “(It) makes the game move a lot faster, but we kept our touches clean.”
Still, the game started slowly as the Ivy League rivals felt each other out. Neither team managed a shot on goal in the first 16 minutes, but Elliott suddenly and spectacularly got the action going. The Quakers cleared the ball away from their goal as Brown made a run down the field. Elliott jumped and struck the ball mid-air with his right foot from well outside the penalty box, sending a bullet past the entire Penn defense that the Quakers’ goalkeeper had no chance of saving.
“It’s just one of those things that happens every once in a while,” Elliott said. “You’re trying to make sure there’s no counterattack, you just hit it and it ends up going in.”
Brown kept its momentum going with two consecutive corner kicks. The first was sent out of bounds by the Penn defense for another corner. But the second corner deflected off defender Taha Kina ’24, landing near Schwartz who converted the tap-in header for a 2-0 Bruno lead. The Bears held off the Quakers for the remainder of the half, taking the two-goal lead into the locker room.
Waldau continued to keep Penn out of the goal after the break, stopping a short range header directly on goal early in the half. The save set up a Brown counter, culminating in a strong shot by midfielder Derek Waleffe ’22 which required a leaping save by Penn’s goalkeeper. The Bears’ best chance to add to their lead during the remainder of the game came on another counterattack by forward Dennis Pyetsukh ’22, whose shot was also gathered by the Penn goalkeeper.
The Bears kept their clean sheet as the clock wound down with more strong play in goal from Waldau. With 15 minutes left in the contest, Waldau made consecutive saves to just barely keep Penn out of the net. Another diving save with nine minutes left on the clock kept Bruno’s defense unscathed. The Quakers appeared to finally get on the board with one minute left in the game, but their goal was called offsides and Brown finished off the shutout.
“We executed on (the) offensive and defensive ends,” Dadzie said. “It was a complete 90-minute performance.”
The Bears’ victory marked their first time winning consecutive games this season after they knocked off College of the Holy Cross 3-2 Wednesday evening. “Whenever you get a second win in a row, it helps with the confidence,” Head Coach Patrick Laughlin said. “You can see successful teams, the level of confidence they have, because it’s wins built on wins built on wins.”
Brown will wrap up its non-conference schedule Wednesday at Central Connecticut State University before taking on Ivy League foe Yale in New Haven Saturday.