The Brown men's soccer team learned first-hand last weekend why Virginia has easily the best men's soccer program in the nation. The Cavaliers dominated the Bears on both ends of the field in Sunday's NCAA tournament quarterfinal, earning a convincing 4-1 victory and taking another step toward their fifth consecutive national championship. Brown, which raced through the regular season with a 17-3 record (6-1 and co-champions in the Ivies with Cornell), fell one step short of the Final Four for the second straight year. The loss, though, could not totally diminish a season in which the Bears repeated as Ivy League champions, the first Ancient Eight team in 10 years to accomplish that feat. Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the game's 28th minute, and that margin held until intermission. The halftime deficit was less worrisome than were Bears a pair of key injuries. Senior midfielder Gary Hughes, the Ivy League's Player of the Year, aggravated the hamstring pull that hampered him for the last 10 games of the season and could not play at 100 percent. And sophomore defenseman John Beck, whose slide-tackle had prevented the Cavaliers from scoring early in the game, had to sit out the second half with a leg injury. The opportunistic Cavaliers made something out of nothing less than five minutes into the second half. Brown goalie Tim Webb blocked a shot by Virginia's Mike Fisher. But Webb collided with teammate Tom James while trying to gather up the ball, and Fisher regained possession. He dribbled into the empty net as Webb could only watch in frustration. "You have to have a little luck to beat Virginia and we did not have any today," said Webb. That goal basically sealed the game for the Cavs. Fisher and Bill Walsh padded the leads with goals in the 61st and 71st minutes. Senior Yohance Edwards put the Bears on the board in the 81st minute, taking a cross and blasting a header into the back of the Virginia net. For Edwards, who was playing in his last-ever game, it was the first goal of his collegiate career. For a 10-man senior class that has led Brown to two straight Ivy League titles and NCAA quarterfinal appearances, the game marked the end of a memorable run. "The seniors have truly restored Brown soccer to greatness," coach Mike Noonan said. "Now it will be up to the rest of us to carry the torch." The Brown Daily Herald contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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