MEN’S SOCCER | Bulldogs overcome early goal to draw No. 11 Brown

Captain Bobby Thalman ’13 and the Bulldog defense survived a 12–4 deficit in shots on goal to emerge with a 1–1 draw against No. 11 Brown on Saturday.
Captain Bobby Thalman ’13 and the Bulldog defense survived a 12–4 deficit in shots on goal to emerge with a 1–1 draw against No. 11 Brown on Saturday. Photo by Graham Harboe.

The home team struck first only three minutes into Saturday night’s men’s soccer game at Brown. Bears forward Ben Maurey took advantage of an early opportunity as he poked a loose ball past goalkeeper and captain Bobby Thalman ’13 off of a corner kick. Down a goal, on the road and facing the 11th-ranked team in the country, the Bulldogs appeared headed for a long night in Providence.

Instead, the early tally served as a wakeup call for Yale (4–7–5, 1–2–3 Ivy). The Bulldogs quickly answered back and eventually finished in a 1–1 tie against Brown (12–1–3, 4–0–2 Ivy), who stood atop the Ivy League standings entering the weekend’s match.

“I thought it was a really impressive performance,” said defender Nick Alers ’14, who sat out the game with concussion-like symptoms. “It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re playing the No. 11 team in the country on the road and you give up a goal two minutes in, but they showed a lot of self-belief.”

Both head coach Brian Tompkins and Thalman said the Bears never should have been awarded the third-minute corner. Thalman said the Bulldogs felt that a Brown player pushed defender Milan Tica ’13 into the ball to draw the corner. Still, the coach and captain added that the early tally galvanized the Bulldogs.

“I thought that their goal really sparked our guys,” Tompkins said. “Rather than treat it as a setback, I thought it really inspired our guys.”

Thalman added that the experience of the Elis’ last two games made the team confident that they could rebound from the deficit. The squad went down a goal to Penn two weeks ago before tallies by Scott Armbrust ’14 and Peter Jacobson ’14 earned the Elis their first conference win, and a goal by Armbrust last weekend finished the scoring for a 1–1 draw against Columbia.

Armbrust and Jacobson again contributed to the Bulldogs’ comeback this weekend. In the 20th minute of the contest, Armbrust ripped a shot that caromed off the Bears’ crossbar and back into play. Jacobson corralled the ball and finished the rebound to knot the score at one goal apiece.

“It was a really well-taken goal,” Tompkins said. “It was a great shot by Scotty and then Peter was in the right place at the right time to finish it off.”

The teams played 90 more minutes, including two 10-minute overtime periods, yet neither squad was able to find the back of the net again.

While Thalman said that both teams had scoring opportunities throughout the rest of the contest, Tompkins noted that Brown became more aggressive in the second half and that the Bulldog defense had to defend strongly.

“Sometimes you gotta defend just on old-fashioned guts and grit, and I think they did that really well yesterday,” Tompkins said.

Thalman led the effort from the back. After the Bears converted their early goal, they put another 11 shots on the Bulldog net — all of which Thalman stopped.

Brown ended the contest with a 36–15 advantage in shots and a 12–4 edge in shots on goal.

“What’s not going to show up in the box score, though, is all the blocked shots and the clearances that the defense had and everyone dropping back and making sure they’re in position,” Thalman said. “While I get the credit for 11 saves, what really won us the game was the effort the guys on the field gave.”

Having amassed five points in the standings over their past three games, the Bulldogs will conclude their season at home this Saturday against Princeton.

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