This weekend looks to be the most intense on Yale’s (1–1–0) nonconference schedule, as the Elis face cross-town rivals Quinnipiac (0-2-0) at home tonight, and then look to upset No. 25 Red Storm at St. John’s (2-1-0) on Sunday.
Despite playing at home, the environment may be more like a road game for the Bulldogs. In a Youtube address to the Bobcat faithful posted yesterday, Quinnipiac midfielder Brett Uttley implored the student body to take over Reese Stadium. “We need to make Yale our home,” he said.
Yale’s all-time record against Quinnipiac is a dominant 6-0-2, although last year’s game was nothing to be proud of, as the Bulldogs escaped with a tie in double overtime. Because of the proximity, forward Brad Rose ’12 acknowledged that the rivalry game against Quinnipiac is always tough. But he likes Yale’s chances this year.
“[They’re] more similar to [Central Connecticut State],” Rose said. CCSU was the Bulldog’s first opponent this season, whom the Bulldogs beat 2-0 at home. He added that the team hopes to move the ball through its skilled midfielders, and avoid the defensive breakdowns they experienced against Lehigh’s long chip shots.
“It’s a desperate play,” Rose said referring to those chip shots. “We can get possession … as long as we maintain our discipline and stay organized.”
Maintaining their poise may be difficult when the Bulldogs face the No. 25 Red Storm at Belson Stadium, the 12th top venue as ranked by College Soccer News. St. John’s leads the series 2-1-0 against Yale, and defeated the Bulldogs 2-1 in overtime at Reese Stadium last year. The Elis last played at Belson Stadium in 2001, when the Red Storm won 5-0.
This year, St. John’s shut out its first two opponents on the road, and has allowed only three goals over five games. Senior defender Connor Lade was named the Big East defensive player of the week for his efforts; getting past him will be a priority for the Yale attack.
Midfielders Max McKiernan ’14 and Max Morice ’15 will play a part in that attack; both players were named to the Ivy League honor roll on Monday for their two goals in the win over CCSU. But every Yale player will be required to put pressure on the Big East’s top ranked defense.
Head Coach Brian Tompkins looks forward to the challenge.
“We have always embraced the opportunity to measure ourselves against the best teams in our region and beyond,” Tompkins said in an interview earlier in the season.
This game will be a measure of Yale’s progress since last season’s shooting woes. At this point last year, the Bulldogs were only able to score two total goals which is equal to this season’s total through two games.
Rose said the team has a new winning attitude this season, influenced largely by the three new assistant coaches who have joined the team.
“Two of them played for Yale,” Rose said. “Coach Suzuki … and Coach Alberts, they know how to get to the Ivy Championship, because they’ve been there before.”
Yale will face-off against Quinnipiac at Reese Stadium tonight at 7 p.m., and against St. John’s at Belson Stadium Sunday at 7:30 p.m.