No. 17 Bears Blank Columbia, 3-0
Providence, RI- Senior Jon Okafor (Verona, NJ), junior T.J. Popolizio (Rexford, NY) and junior Austin Mandel (Tarzana, CA) each scored goals to lead the No. 17 nationally-ranked Brown men's soccer team to a 3-0 Ivy League victory against Columbia on Saturday night at Stevenson Field. Brown improves to 6-0-2 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League, while Columbia drops to 4-5-1 overall and 0-1-0 in the league.
The Bears came out fired up for their first Ivy contest of the 2010 season, and dominated the Lions from the start, which included an impressive 19-8 lead in shots for the game. Junior midfielder Evan Coleman (Amherst, MA) got off the first shot of the night just 3:45 into the game, and Okafor just missed a header wide at the 7:02 mark. The third time was a charm for the Bears, as the team's next shot on goal went in at the 15:24 mark. Junior forward Sean Rosa (Montreal, Quebec) slid the ball through Columbia's defenders to Okafor, who was running full-speed in front of the goal, and knocked one past Alexander Aurrichio to go up 1-0.
Brown's offense continued to press and the defense gave another stalwart effort shutting down any chances the Lions could get. Columbia's Nick Scott fired off the first shot on goal for the Lions 25 minutes in, but senior goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand (Orono, MN) came up with his first of three saves for the night.
Then, at the 39:30 mark, Bruno earned its second goal of the night when Mandel crossed the ball to Popoilizio for a diving header near post to extend Brown's lead to 2-0.
After the half, the Bears didn't back down and maintained control of the ball throughout the final 45 minutes as Bruno outshot the Lions 10-1. Brown's third goal came at the 78-minute mark when Okafor took the ball near post and slid it back to Mandel who was waiting on the seven-yard line and ripped it past Columbia's Aurrichio.
Leading Brown's offensive attack tonight was Okafor with five shots, including a goal and an assist, while Rosa and Coleman each tallied three shots. Grandstrand improved to 6-0-2 overall in goal with three saves in 90 minutes, while Aurrichio dropped to 4-5-1 overall with four saves tonight.
The Bears are back in action at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5 when it takes on No. 18 ranked St. John's at Stevenson Field.