Nov. 18, 2010

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

In the final game of the 2010 season at Stevenson Field in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, No. 14 Brown (12-3-3, 3-3-1 Ivy) took on No. 21 Boston College (10-5-5, 2-2-4 ACC), and even though the two teams had not met in over two years, it proved to be a hotly-contested match. The Bears netted a goal early in the game and one late in the first half to take a 2-1 win and advance to the Second Round.

Even though Boston College head coach Ed Kelly had coached more games against Brown than Bears first-year head coach Patrick Laughlin had coached at Brown, it was the Bears that came out as the poised yet aggressive and ready-to-strike team, especially in the first 10 minutes of the match, as they registered five shots to BC's zero.

Senior Jon Okafor (Verona, N.J.) started the first half off with a bang as the forward took control of the ball 15 yards off of midfield on the pass from junior Taylor Gorman (Freeport, Maine). Okafor put on a clinic in dribbling as he streaked towards the goal with a BC defender draped all over him. The senior remained calm however, breaking slightly right, then firing left, beating the Eagles keeper for the first goal of the game just 10:02 into the match.

The Bear offense continued to attack and with 10:48 to play when junior All-Ivy League forward Sean Rosa (Montreal, Quebec) took control on the left side in the Eagle zone, worked down to within 10 yards and rocketed a ball high at center net. The shot would have increased the Bear lead to two, but BC's goalkeeper Justin Luthy was able to fully extend upwards and just get a hand on the ball to deflect the shot over the net.

Brown was able to squeeze off two more direct shots on net, but Luthy was able to square up and make the save on each attempt to keep the Eagles in the game. A minute later, it was Boston College sophomore Kyle Becker who put one in from 25 yards out and tied of the game at one at the 40:23 mark.

The Bears took exception to the BC score and following celebration, and revved up the offensive effort. Just over two minutes later, a pass in from sophomore Thomas McNamara (West Nyack, N.Y.) set up Gorman who was able to find Austin Mandel (Tarzana, Calif.). The junior forward took quick control and blasted one in from the right side to put Brown back up 2-1.

Midway through the second half, sophomore Dylan Remick (Inverness, Ill.) showed off the impressive speed that made him an a First Team All-Ivy selection as he intercepted a pass deep in the Bear zone and took it the length of the field even with a BC defender tugging at his jersey.

Remick continued to play everywhere on the field and was taken down on another breakaway which set up a free kick for the Bears at the 14-minute mark. Junior Jay Hayward (Acton, Mass.) took the kick, getting a strong strike on the ball, but the shot went off the post, which kept the Eagles within one.

As much as the Brown offense was relied upon in the first half and much of the second, it was First Team All-Ivy keeper Paul Grandstrand (Orono, Minn.) and the Bear defense that closed out the game. Grandstrand made four saves and faced 15 total shots.

Brown moves on to face Connecticut (12-2-5) in Storrs, Conn. in a second round matchup on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.