Nov. 18, 2005
Providence, RI - The stage has been set for Saturday's NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship First Round game at Stevenson Field as in-state rivals Brown and Rhode Island will go head-to-head, looking to advance on to the second round, where the winner will play #1 seeded Maryland on Tuesday.
The Bears earned an at-large bid into this year's tourney after capturing a share of the Ivy League Title with a 2-2 draw against Dartmouth last weekend. The team closed out the regular season with a 10-4-2 record, ranking as high as 18th in the nation. The Rams received an automatic bid after defeating St. Louis, 5-4, in penalty kicks in the Atlantic 10 Championship match last weekend. They enter Saturday's game on a nine game winning streak, which has upped their record to 13-7-2.
Sophomore co-captain Matt Britner along with junior Ben Brackett and Andrew Daniels were named First Team All-Ivy earlier this week. In addition, freshman standout Scott Geppert earned Ivy Rookie of the Year accolades.
Daniels leads Brown with six goals this season while Geppert has racked up a team-high 14 points on four goals and six assists. His six assists are tied for the league-lead with teammate Brian Joyce '07, who earned an All-Ivy Honorable Mention. Brackett is second for Brown with five goals.
Britner has anchored one of the top defenses in the nation this year as the Bears' back unit has allowed just 12 goals in 16 games, including seven shutouts. The amazing fact is, of the four members of the Brown defense, there is a combined playing experience of two seasons among them. Britner played his rookie season in 2003 before missing all of last year with an injury while sophomore Laurent Manuel had a stellar freshman campaign in 2004, earning an All-Ivy Honorable Mention. Freshmen Rhett Bernstein, an All-Ivy Honorable Mention, and Stephen Sawyer complete the talented backfield.
While strong defensive play has been the trademark for Head Coach Mike Noonan's teams over the years, he has pieced together a high-powered offense as well this season. The Bears have led the Ivy League in virtually every offensive catagory since the start of the season. A true test of the first-rate defense and prominent offense, Brown is out-shooting its opponents by a margin of 237-150.
Saturday's game will be the 47th meeting between Brown and Rhode Island, including the third in post-season play. Brown took a 2-1 overtime decision in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1999 while in 1977, the Bears knocked the Rams out of the tourney with a 3-1 win in the second round.
Overall, Brown holds a commanding 32-13-1 advantage in the all-time series with Rhody. The Rams have won the last two meetings, taking a pair of 2-1 victories in 2003 and 2004. Brown last defeated URI in 2002 with a 2-0 shutout.
This will be Brown's 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament while Rhode Island is making its tenth. Both teams last appearance came in 2003.
The winner of Saturday's game will play at #1 seeded Maryland on Tuesday night. If the Bears' advance on to the third round, they could be facing a very familiar opponent, the Dartmouth Big Green. Dartmouth received a bye in the first round and will play the winner of the St. John's/Marist game on Tuesday night.
To order tickets for Saturday's contest, call the Brown Ticket Office at 401-863-2773.