Bears Advance to Quarters With Win Over Brown

Photo: Hector Jimenez leaps past a sliding challenge from Brown's Sean Rosa. Cal's win moves them into the quarterfinals against third-ranked Akron, last year's national runner-up.
Anna Vignet/Staff
Hector Jimenez leaps past a sliding challenge from Brown's Sean Rosa. Cal's win moves them into the quarterfinals against third-ranked Akron, last year's national runner-up.

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Facing a Brown team that had only allowed 10 goals all season, the Cal men's soccer team knew that creating scoring chances would be difficult.

After forward John Fitzpatrick's header hit the back of the net to give Cal a 1-0 lead over Brown, the Bears showed the best way to beat a staunch defense - off of set pieces.

Fitzpatrick headed home Davis Paul's corner kick midway through the first half to give a lead that Cal would not surrender in its 2-0 victory over Brown in the third round of the NCAA College Cup. The Bears move on to the quarterfinals to play Akron, who defeated Indiana 2-1.

Playing a significantly stronger game than in its victory over UCSB, Cal withstood a gritty Brown squad, who outshot the Bears 15-13 despite losing defender Eric Robertson to a second yellow card in the 63rd minute. It was a tough day for Robertson, who deflected one of Paul's crosses into his own net to make the score 2-0.

Brown broke up a series of good scoring chances throughout the game, but had no chance to stop Fitzpatrick's header in the 30th minute. Defender Chris Ortega started it by streaking down the sideline before having his cross knocked out of bounds by the Brown defense. Paul's ensuing corner kick found a charging Fitzpatrick, who knocked the ball past all-Ivy League goalie Paul Grandstrand into the upper-V. It was Fitzpatrick's sixth goal, and Paul's assist moved his single-season record to 14.

"It was a great ball by Davis," Fitzpatrick said. "I was in the right place at the right time; it just happened to go to me and I put it in."

Brown is well regarded for its defense, but even after being reduced to 10 men, it showed its willingness to attack. Led by forwards Thomas McNamara and Sean Rosa, Brown kept Cal goalie David Bingham busy, putting nine of its 15 shots on frame.

"Anybody that saw the game today saw that we like to attack," Brown coach Patrick Laughlin said. "We outshot and outcornered the opponent. We really went after it in the second half. I'm really proud of these guys for going for it and taking that chance."

It looked like Brown was going to cut Cal's lead in half about midway through the second half, but Steve Birnbaum made maybe the defensive play of the year on a shot from Brown's Jay Hayward. Bingham broke up Brown forward Thomas Mandel's initial shot off of a breakaway, but the ball squirted to Hayward whose shot at an open net was spectacularly deflected over the crossbar by a sliding Birnbaum.

"I initially thought it was going to go in," Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. "Steve made a great play. That made the difference to keep the game 2-0."

Added Laughlin: "When you see a team get behind their goalkeeper and clear a ball off the line off of a goalkeeper's body, that's a team that's determined to win."

Tags: CAL MEN'S SOCCER


Gabriel Baumgaertner is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]



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