Last season, the men’s soccer team finished at the wrong end in three of its five overtime games. That fate struck again in just the second game of the 2010 season.
Tuesday night brought back bad memories for the Bulldogs (0–2) as they fell 2–1 to Fairfield (1–1–1) in double overtime Tuesday night at Lessing Field in Fairfield. The Bulldogs held a one-goal lead until surrendering it in the 70th minute and later the contest when Fairfield’s Erik Ilisije, who scored both Stags goals, provided the match’s game-winner in the 102nd minute.
“One of the things we need to learn is how to manage the game when we are ahead and on the road,” head coach Brian Tompkins said.
The Bulldogs started off the scoring when midfielder and captain Andy Shorten ’11 found the back of the net in the 29th minute off a corner kick from midfielder Eric Meyer ’11. Possession and control of the game remained more or less even throughout the first half as steadiness characterized the play. The Bulldogs were stronger offensively in the first half, something Coach Tompkins says has improved already this season.
“We learned some lessons on Saturday in the UConn game in terms of needing to get more width into our attack and to trying to be more dangerous with our play,” he said. “And I think we did that well tonight, especially in the early part of the game.”
Fairfield recorded four shots on net in the half while the Bulldogs had three.
The Stags increased their pressure on the Eli defense in the second half, leading to Ilisije’s first tally of the game with a header off a deflected shot in the 70th minute to tie it at one.
“The first half I think we played our game,” forward Brad Rose ’11 said. “We didn’t have to adjust to them, we made them adjust to us. But in the second half it kind of got away from us.”
The Stags continued to outnumber the Bulldogs with shots on goal, finishing the game with 11 total, three more than the Elis. Goalkeeper Bobby Thalman ’13 was able to hold the Stags to two goals as he recorded four saves.
The Bulldogs were able to hold their ground through the first ten-minute overtime, even recording the single shot on goal for the period when forward Peter Jacobson ’14 got a shot off after receiving a pass from Shorten. But just a minute and a half into the second extra time period, Ilisije promptly ended the contest.
“It’s a bit of déjà vu from last year dropping an overtime decision, but I am confident we will overcome this hurdle and come back with something to prove in the Brown Classic,” Thalman said.
The Elis head to Providence, R.I. this weekend for two matches in the aforementioned Brown Classic. They first face Hofstra on Friday at 5 p.m. and battle South Carolina Sunday at noon.