Sound familiar? M. soccer ties another

The men’s soccer team tied a double-overtime game. Again.

Yale’s (2-4-3, 0-0-2 Ivy) match against Cornell (5-4-1, 0-1-1) on Saturday ended at 1-1 after another 110 hard-fought minutes ended in the Bulldogs’ third tie in four games.

Forward Kevin Pope ‘10 moves past Army defenders.  The Elis beat Army 1-0 but were unable to carry the momentum into their game against Cornell.
Charles Francis
Forward Kevin Pope ‘10 moves past Army defenders. The Elis beat Army 1-0 but were unable to carry the momentum into their game against Cornell.

The Elis controlled play from the beginning and held possession for most of the game, but the Big Red got a few key chances to put shots on goal and were able to capitalize on one defensive mistake.

The Bulldogs dominated in the first half and held off Cornell’s leading scorers, Matt Bouraee and Brian Kuritzky. But neither team was able to get the ball into the net and the period ended 0-0 — a sign of what was to come.

“This game should have been won in the first half,” Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We created enough chances and because of that it’s disappointing to finish in a tie.”

The struggling Eli offense did manage seven shots in the opening stanza, most of which just missed – some wide, some high, and some deflected. About a third of the way into the half, forward Brad Rose ’11 had a one-on-one opportunity against the Cornell goalkeeper, but his hard-hit, line-drive shot barely missed the far post. The near misses continued. Later in the game, Rose got the ball up to forward Kevin Pope ’10, whose attempt on goal flew barely outside the near post.

Despite valiant efforts up top, the Bulldogs could not get a point on the board.

The Big Red came out with more energy in the second half and pressured the Eli defense for most of the 45 minutes.

The Bulldog back line held strong. Center defenders Frank Piasta ’09 and Alex Guzinski ’09 along with outside defenders Max Rhodes ’09 and James Craig ’08 put on another impressive defensive showing. The unit has allowed only one goal in the last four games.

“We were concentrating a lot better defensively,” Tompkins said. “The guys are certainly working hard and their focus has been good. We wasted a good defensive effort tonight.”

The Eli offense suffered in the half because the team stopped moving well off the ball, captain and goalkeeper Erik Geiger ’08 said. Cornell’s amplified attack left holes in their defense, but Yale was not possessing as well as it did in the first half and could not capitalize.

Then, the Big Red managed to break through on one play. 27:49 into the second half, Cornell’s Will Wolfson crossed the ball to Bouraee, whose header hit off the near post and just snuck past the goal line despite the efforts of Geiger and the Yale defense.

Geiger had a three game shutout streak dating back to Sept. 23 against UW-Milwaukee. The Elis had also effectively held off 76 shots until the Bouraee goal.

“It was very, very, very disappointing,” Geiger said. “It’s just frustrating to give up a goal. That was definitely our game. We controlled the ball but we got away from what we were doing well in the first. [Cornell] playing direct puts you under pressure so it’s difficult to defend.”

With the Big Red leading by one in the final 15 minutes of the game, the Elis kicked up their attack and evened the score. Midfielder Andy Shorten ’11 crossed to midfielder Eric Meyer ’11 who drew the keeper out and slammed the ball against a Cornell defender to deflect it into the goal. Meyer recorded his first career goal and Shorten notched his first career point.

Regulation play ended shortly thereafter, putting the Bulldogs in a familiar place: tied going into the first of two sudden-death overtimes. But neither team could break through, and another 20 minutes passed with a combined seven missed shots; the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The battle-worn squads collapsed on the field at the final whistle.

“This is frustrating for us,” Plasta said. “We definitely had better play. We did a lot of good things today — I still thought we played very well. But if we want to compete for the Ivy title, we gotta win games.”

The tie leaves Yale ranked sixth in the Ancient Eight after two conference matches. The Elis will next face off against Central Connecticut at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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