After an improbable run to cap their incredible season, the men’s soccer team (5-5-8, 2-0-5 Ivy League) finally fell 2-1 in the Ivy Championship to Yale (10-5-3, 3-1-3) Sunday afternoon. It was the Bears’ first loss in 12 games, leaving them two goals short of an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
“Yale was good in the game and deserved to win the trophy, credit to them,” Head Coach Chase Wileman wrote in a message to The Herald. “That being said, we were in the game and we still had chances to win it. We never stopped and threw everything at them; it just wasn't meant to be.”
After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs broke through Bruno’s defense late with two goals in five minutes to take a commanding lead with 18 minutes remaining. The Bears never backed down, quickly responding in the 76th minute with a goal from Harri Sprofera ’25, but they were unable to find the net again as the clock wound down.
Yale never took their foot off the gas, applying pressure on Brown until the last seconds.
“They are physical, strong, mature and (they) limit mistakes,” Wileman wrote of the Yale squad. “They also do a good job of testing you by putting balls in the box and making you defend.” Wileman also cited Yale’s all-Ivy attackers Eric Lagos and Max Rogers, who recorded a goal and assist, respectively, as “the difference in a tight game.”
“We showed a lot of fight to get a goal back and continue to apply pressure until the end after going down two goals,” midfielder Charlie Adams ’24 wrote. “Yale played well and although we didn't have our best quality, we fought hard.”
The game closes the book on the Bears’ 2023 campaign. After opening the season on a 1-4 skid, the team proceeded to go 4-0-7 the rest of the way. According to Brown Athletics, goalkeeper Hudson Blatteis ’24 is the first player in Ivy League history to allow zero goals in regular-season conference play.
“I thought during the beginning of the season, we had some difficult times, but we were able to pick ourselves up and turn our season around,” forward Lorenzo Amaral ’27 wrote. “The work that we put in from trainings to the coaching staff preparing us every game was a massive contribution to our success this season.”
The Bears snagged the last spot in the inaugural Ivy League tournament and pulled off a phenomenal upset to defeat the top-seeded Penn in penalty kicks.
“The win on Friday against Penn was a game I'll remember forever,” Adams wrote. “After the rough start to our season, to finish in the Ivy Championship with a chance to win is something we're all very proud of and can hold our heads high about.”
The season marked a major step for the Bears in their second year under Wileman’s leadership.
“This fall, we were one game away from a trophy and an NCAA tournament appearance, and we were also a couple of results away from winning the regular season trophy,” Wileman wrote. “In 2022 I think we did some good things as well, so we are close. …The reality is we haven't won anything, but there is a good foundation there as we continue to build the program back up.”
This was potentially the final game for members of the Brown senior class, including players like Adams, Blatteis and First Team All-Ivy selection Kojo Dadzie ’24. Wileman noted that this is the final class with a COVID-19 eligibility waiver due to the canceled 2020 season and that some seniors may be returning.
“We improved a lot throughout the year and had our best stuff at the end, which was exciting,” Adams wrote. “What I'll remember most is my teammates and all the time we spent together on and off the pitch.”
“Our team expects to win and they believe we can win, and that is because of the winning culture the seniors helped to create,” Wileman wrote. “Myself and the rest of the staff are very thankful for their efforts and I know each of them will go on to do great things.”
Expectations will surely be higher for the 2024 team, as this year Brown was ranked seventh in the Ivy Preseason Poll.
“This season shows how much this program has progressed and what the team is capable of achieving,” Amaral wrote. “I believe that our team has the quality and ability to keep improving, giving our fans next year exciting games to watch and a team that expects and wants to win week in and week out.”
Linus is a sports editor from New York City. He is a junior concentrating in English, and when he's out of The Herald office you can find him rooting for the Mets, watching Star Wars or listening to The Beach Boys.