By this time a year ago, the men’s soccer team had built a resume that was as extensive as it was impressive.
Yale had won the adidas-Brown Classic, knocked off defending NCAA champion North Carolina and achieved a No. 21 national ranking. In fact, heading into a faceoff with interstate rival University of Hartford, Yale had yet to lose a game.
The Bulldogs (1-3-0) host the Hartford Hawks (4-3-1) Saturday at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. This year, Yale’s credentials are hardly as noteworthy. Although the Elis scored a major victory over Stanford — last year’s NCAA runner-up — they dropped their other three contests.
“We’ve had a couple reasonable performances that went sour,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We want to get our record back to .500, and ultimately, we want to pick up some momentum for Ivies.”
The Hawks had a convincing 4-1 victory over Harvard (2-1-2) Sept. 20 and will provide a stiff challenge for the Bulldogs.
“We need to step it up,” Tompkins said. “We haven’t been as effective at goal-scoring. Some of our offensive players just haven’t been able to find that one goal.”
Forward Lindsey Williams ’05 perhaps best symbolizes his team’s frustration. He led the Ivy League in points in 2002, but does not have a goal to his name this year.
On the other hand, Hartford forward Alon Lubezky already has seven. The two-time America East Player of the Week has already amassed 17 points this season — more than twice Yale’s team total. Yale has scored a mere three goals this autumn, to accompany just one assist.
“For any college team to win five games in a row requires some breaks,” Tompkins said. “We just can’t seem to catch any breaks this year. We could have used some last weekend.”
Last Friday, in the first round of the Yale-Soccer Classic, Fairleigh Dickinson snubbed Yale 1-0. Two days later, against Creighton, a defensive collapse late in the first half allowed the Blue Jays to tally thrice in a span of 3:44. Creighton won 3-1.
“We’ve been an early season team the last couple of years,” Tompkins said. “I have every reason to believe that we’re going to get it together. Some teams are mid-season teams, and some teams are early season teams. I think we have a mid-season attitude.”