This weekend at the Yale Soccer Classic, the visitors looked more comfortable at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium than the hosts did.
After dropping their first two games last weekend on the road, the men’s soccer team (0-4-0) failed to capitalize on their home-field advantage. The Elis fell to Duquesne, 3-1, on Friday night, before getting shut out on Sunday afternoon, 2-0, by Hartwick.
Friday night against Duquesne, the Bulldogs controlled most of the game in front of the large, home-field crowd, but it was the Elis’ inability to capitalize on several key chances that cost them the ballgame.
In the first half, captain Ryan Raybould ’05 kicked a point-blank shot right into the awaiting arms of Duquesne goalkeeper Zach Varga. In the game’s 25th minute, midfielder Shannon Brooks ’06 fed a great cross to forward Lindsey Williams ’05 only to see Williams’s header sail just wide of the goal.
After entering halftime in a 0-0 tie, the Dukes needed just over four minutes to take the lead in the second half. Forward Jason Sourber headed a beautiful cross past Bulldog goalkeeper Geoff Hollington ’05 and gestured provokingly to the raucous Bulldog crowd to let them know how he felt.
It took the Dukes only seven more minutes to take a two-goal lead, when forward Scott Gibson struck one in the top corner of the net from ten yards out.
Williams had a chance to cut the deficit to one in the game’s 65th minute, but his header off Raybould’s feed once again sailed wide past a diving Varga.
Duquesne midfielder Steve Mellor added a little more insurance in the game’s 77th minute, taking a free kick from Sourber and nailing a hard strike past Hollington.
Forward Andrew Dealy ’05 managed to break up Vargas’ shutout when he ripped a 15-yard ball past the keeper in the game’s 87th minute.
Despite allowing three goals against the Dukes, Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said it was the Bulldog’s own lack of production in front of the net that really hurt them.
“Any soccer game is an accumulation of moments,” Tompkins said. “When we had our moments in front of the goal today we didn’t do well with them. Conversely, on the defensive end we didn’t take care of our business and [Duquesne] punished us.”
Sunday afternoon’s game was much like Friday night’s, with the Bulldogs pressuring Hartwick for most of the game only to see the Hawks come away with the 2-0 shutout.
Hartwick dropped an overtime game to Brown on Friday night, and Tompkins knew that the Hawks would be ready.
“[Hartiwck] has had their pride stung tonight so they’re going to be up for the game,” Tompkins said on Friday night. “We have our work cut out for us.”
And the Bulldogs certainly did on Sunday from the get-go, allowing a goal with just over two minutes elapsed in the game. After the quick score, the Bulldogs settled down, not giving up any more scores for the remainder of the half.
However, the Hawks scored again in the game’s 72nd minute when defender Adam Mitchinson scored his second goal of the game off a free kick. Mitchinson, along with midfielder Adam Ruiz, were members of the All-Tournament Team for Hartwick.
“For a first-year player [Mitchinson] has done tremendously well,” Hartwick head coach Ian McIntyre said. “Any time one of your defenders chips in with a couple of goals it’s great as well.”
The Bulldogs certainly had their chances, though, with a free kick from Raybould sailing just high in the game’s 47th minute.
Defender James Stewart ’07 had a couple big scoring opportunities for the Elis as well, but Hartwick goalkeeper Josh Wagenaar was up to the task, making several key saves and preserving the shutout for the Hawks. Wagenaar finished with nine saves in the game.
The Bulldogs, though, thought they scored a goal with a little over 15 minutes to play, but it was called off when the line judge said one of the Bulldogs was offsides. After that controversial call, the Elis were unable to regroup.
“Basically the game comes down to a few lapses,” Dealy said. “We put together all these games, about 70 good minutes, sometimes 60. This game you can say even 80 good minutes. And we just have these lapses, for whatever reason. We just have these mental breakdowns on behalf of everyone. It’s just these glimpses in games that are killing us.”
Dealy, who, as well as Williams, was a member of the All-Tournament Team, also said the Bulldogs need to bring all the elements of their game together to be successful.
“We had good possessions, the intensity was there, the tackling was there, a lot of stuff that hadn’t been there started to come this weekend,” Dealy said. “We just can’t put it all together and that’s the frustrating part.”
Yesterday’s game was marred by a couple of ugly incidents involving several Hartwick and Yale players, with a couple almost coming to blows, but it was the physical play that seemed to help the Hawks.
In addition, the officiating became a point of contention for several Yale players and coaches. While Dealy said the officiating left something to be desired, he was quick to dismiss it as a factor in the loss.
“[The officiating] was frustrating,” Dealy said. “In the first half there was a blatant hand ball that went uncalled. There were some other things, the offsides call that called our goal back. I mean, I’m not going to blame it on the ref, but it did not go our way today.”