Women’s soccer (10-2-2, 4-0-1 Ivy League) retained first place in the Ivy League after defeating Cornell (2-7-5, 0-3-2) 2-0 at Stevenson-Pincince Field Saturday, restoring the Bears’ two-point advantage over rival Harvard in the conference with two more games to play.
Brown briefly fell behind Harvard in the standings before their game, as Harvard defeated Princeton 3-2.
In Providence, with goals from forward Ava Seelenfreund ’23.5 and midfielder Lucinda Anderson ’24, Brown outclassed Cornell in all areas, recording 62% of possession and topping the Big Red 19-3 in shots and 8-1 in shots on goal.
The Bruno press was active and disruptive, particularly in the first half, in which Cornell struggled to get the ball out of their own zone and relied on aimless long balls to attack.
“I think that’s part of the identity of our team — pressing, trying to put the team under in their half, turn them over and try to go to goal,” Head Coach Kia McNeill said. “It was hard because they put so many numbers behind the ball and I think we had some unforced errors, giving the ball away a couple of times.”
In the early stages, the Bears created chances from crosses into the 18-yard box for forward Brittany Raphino ’23, who twice arrived just too late for a tap-in.
But it was a cross from Raphino that led to the Brown opener in the 24th minute. Raphino, Brown’s leading scorer entering the game, drove to the end line and sent in a hard, low cross. Cornell’s defense only cleared the ball as far as Seelenfreund, who, from the penalty spot, took a touch and rifled a half-volley into the roof of the net.
“Brittany and I are connecting a lot from up top and you can see (that) from the scores. When we’re both on, it really works,” Seelenfreund said.
For the rest of the half, Brown continued to create chances, many of them sparked by substitute forward Claire Myers ’22.5.
In the 42nd minute, Myers made a run in behind the defense and was found by defender Kayla Duran ’22.5 on a chipped through ball. With the ball coming over her shoulder, Myers whipped a header on target, forcing the Cornell goalkeeper to make a diving save.
Minutes later, Myers picked up the ball in the midfield and sent an inch-perfect through ball to forward Miya Grant-Clavijo ’25. After a scramble in the box, the ball landed for forward Kira Maguire ’24, whose shot hit the outside of the net.
Cornell began the second half stronger, gaining more possession in the offensive zone. In the 66th minute, a Cornell corner bounced around the box before it was poked toward the net by forward Laken Gallman, but her shot went just wide of the post.
In the final 20 minutes, Brown regained their dominance, punctuated by Anderson’s goal, which again came from a Raphino cross. A long ball from defender Naya Cardoza ’26 found Raphino wide open on the side of the box near the endline. Raphino chipped in a cross that was headed down by Myers and then slammed in by Anderson.
With Anderson’s goal all but ensuring the victory, Duran almost added a third in jaw-dropping fashion, unleashing a missile from 20 yards out that bounced down off the crossbar, up off the turf and back out. Replay showed that the shot had crossed the goal line, but the referee did not give the goal, denying a dazzling cap to the victory.
“I never get shots on goal so I guess I was just pretty excited to get a shot for once,” Duran said. “But I guess bad luck.”
Still, with the win, the Bears remain in the driver’s seat for a third-straight Ivy League title with games remaining against Penn — the only conference opponent Harvard has dropped points against — and Yale.
Penn “is another team that puts a lot of numbers behind the ball. They really sit in and play for those one-goal games or 0-0 games,” McNeill said. “We (have to) execute on crosses, on set pieces more — be a little more dangerous in the box.”
The Bears could potentially clinch the Ivy League as early as next weekend with a win against the Quakers in Philadelphia on Sunday if Harvard draws or loses against Dartmouth on Saturday.