October 19, 2007

M. Soccer Hungry for Upset Against No. 8 Bears

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The men’s soccer team will host the No. 8 Brown Bears — the highest nationally ranked Ivy League team — on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Berman field.
Not only do the Bears (9-1-1, 2-0-0 Ivy) top the Ivies, but they are also very competitive on a national scale. The National Soccer Coaches of America Association places Brown No. 8 in the national Division I poll for Oct. 16 after the team’s recent triumph over Harvard. The Bears and the Crimson played overtime minutes concluding in a 3-2 victory for Brown.
The game with Harvard marked the Bears’ third straight contest that extended into overtime and ended in a third win for the Bears. Brown has challenged four ranked teams so far this season — No. 2 Santa Clara, No. 5 Boston College, No. 7 Harvard and No. 21 UC-Irvine. Interestingly, the Bears beat all of these teams except UC-Irvine — with whom they tied.
“Brown is on a great run,” said head Coach Bryan Scales. “They have beaten some of the top teams in the country and are currently ranked No. 5 in the Soccer America poll and No. 8 in the NSCAA poll. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
The Red (5-4-1, 2-0-0) has struggled to win recently, but bele­ives that if it plays its own game and challenges the Bears, it could greatly influence the outcome of the Ivy League season.
“They are a very physical team that prides itself on putting you under pressure,” Scales said. “We’ll need to match or exceed their intensity for 90 minutes, but also be very disciplined.”
Last season, Cornell fell to Brown by a score of 2-0. Historically, that loss marked the Bears’ 31st win over the Red; a win this season, however, would give the Red its 20th over the Bears.
This year’s squad has proven its tuned ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Senior Brian Kuritzky and sophomore Matt Bouraee have been a consistent and dangerous duo up front for the Red. Both of these players are among the top-10 in points per game in the Ivy League. Kuritzky and Bouraee have recorded 1.50 and 1.38 points per game, respectively. Similarly, Kuritzky is fifth in the Ivy League with five goals and Bouraee is tied for sixth place with four goals. This increased offensive pressure and finishing talent promises to challenge the Bears.
“These Ivy League games are essentially playoff games and I expect this one to be no different,” Scales said. “The officials for this match will play an important factor.”
In case the level of competition is insufficient motivation to come out and watch the game, perhaps the flip-throwing spectacle mastered by Brown’s junior Darren Howerton is reason to show up.