M. SOCCER | Bulldogs drop to fourth place

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Photo by Graham Harboe.

The men’s soccer team lost its second Ivy League match at Columbia after a historic October snowfall delayed Saturday’s game until Sunday afternoon.

The field was cleared of all the snow, and head coach Brian Tompkins said the sunny conditions were perfect for soccer. Tompkins added it was unfortunate that the Bulldogs took an entire half to warm up, falling behind 1–0 when Lion striker Will Stamatis scored his sixth goal of the season 30 minutes into the game. Tompkinssaid the team was hesitant and “a bit too respectful” of the home-team Lions.

“Sometimes it just happens that way, especially when you go on the road,” hesaid. “It’s not unusual for teams to have ups and downs.”

Yale (3–2–0Ivy) cannot afford to have too many downs this Ivy season, as the loss dropped them to fourth place in the race for the Ivy championship,tying the team with Columbia (3–2–0, Ivy).

After the Lions scored Yale was forced to hunt for the equalizer for the rest of the match. Tompkins said the team was much more competitive in the second half, winning more 50–50 balls and defending better against the persistent Columbia attack. But the ball was constantly in transition and the Bulldogs, a team that relies on developing its attack through the midfield, had trouble getting settled and maintaining possession.

Defender Milan Tica ’13 had a chance at the Lions’ goal when he headed Jenner Fox’s ’14 cross-kick wide of the net. Tica said the failed combination epitomized the Bulldogs’ effort for the day.

“I think that our creativity just wasn’t there today. We did really well getting into their defensive third of the field, but the final pass and final touch just never worked out,” Tica said.

The Lions finished the game with twice as many shots, 10, as the Elis, and three more shots on goal. The Bulldogs only had one dangerous opportunity, when Brad Rose ’12 shot deflected off a Columbia defender standing in front of the net. Overall, the Bulldogs’ offensive production has taken a big hit in October, as the team has managed 66 shots compared to September’s output of 124. Goalie Bobby Thalman ’13 was one of several players who ascribed this dip to the increase in defensive pressure and competition that comes with the Ivy League.

“You’re never going to see thaat many blowout games in Ivy competition,” Thalman said. “The goal count goes down as defenses lock it up.”

Only two teams have won the Ivy League after losing two games: Dartmouth in 1964 and Brown in 1975. This year looks to be an especially close race, as current frontrunner Cornell (8–1–5, Ivy) tied with rankings bottom-dweller Princeton (1–3–1, Ivy) Sunday, dropping the Big Red to within two points of Yale and Columbia, and only one point of Dartmouth and Brown.

“We definitely stepped in a pothole today, but we’re still alive,” Tompkins said. “We have to beat Brown.”

This Saturday’s game at Brown will be Yale’s last at home, an important factor as the Bulldogs have scored more than twice as many goals at Reese Stadium as they have away, and given up almost half as many goals to their opponents. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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