One week after beating defending NCAA runner-up Stanford, the men’s soccer team will try to pick up where it left off when it hosts the fifth annual Yale Soccer Classic this weekend.
Yale (1-1) faces Fairleigh Dickinson University (1-1-1) in the opening round of the tournament tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. The Elis conclude the Classic Sunday at 2:30 p.m. when they take on No. 15 Creighton (2-2-2).
Last Sunday at the Adidas-Brown Classic, the Elis defeated the then-No. 19 Cardinal, who came up short against UCLA in the 2002 College Cup finals.
“We’re coming off a big win,” forward Gage Hills ’07 said. “We’re excited to play this weekend. In past years we haven’t done that well at home. We’re hoping to get some people in the stands and get some support.”
The Elis have an opportunity to amass two more quality wins this weekend, but it will not be easy. Tonight, they take on the Knights, the reigning Northeast Conference champions.
“They have some excellent individuals and can definitely cause us some problems,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We have to be careful.”
It does not get any better for Yale Sunday. The Blue Jays–a perennial powerhouse–advanced to the national semifinals last year.
“We’re going up against two difficult teams this weekend,” Tompkins said. “Creighton is one of the top teams in the country. We have to be at our best.”
Tompkins said the team’s confidence level is high right now.
“Early in the season is a volatile time,” Tompkins said. “Bad results get you down, and good results bring you back up. The players are smart enough to realize that true confidence is the byproduct of consistent performances.”
The Elis’ season has already been marked by ups and downs. Before toppling Stanford last weekend at Brown, Yale dropped a disappointing decision to Wisconsin on Saturday.
Tompkins said the win against the Cardinals demonstrated his team’s talent and potential but said the Elis still needs to “smooth out some of the rough edges.”
Tompkins was particularly pleased with the performance of the freshmen.
“The freshmen really stepped it up. On the whole, I think we have the making of a good team,” Tompkins said. “This weekend, we’ll have to put up or shut up.”
Tompkins added that winning is not the team’s first priority.
“We’re not hung up on the outcome,” Tompkins said. “We want to continually improve. One of our goals is to be better at the end of the season than at the beginning.”