M. SOCCER | Game 6: The return of the Elis

After last Saturday’s loss at Columbia, Yale dropped to fourth in the Ivy League, putting it out of contention for the Ivy League Championship. Or so it seemed.

While Yale lost to the Lions in New York, Ivy League leader Cornell tied with underdog Princeton in New Jersey. Right now the Big Red is only two points ahead of the Bulldogs. Yale’s chances at a championship are slim, but they still exist: Cornell needs to lose, and the best chance of that happening will be this weekend in Hanover, N.H., where Dartmouth is undefeated in conference play.

The Big Red also needs to drop next week’s match to Columbia, while Dartmouth needs to lose next week at Brown for Yale to take first in the league.

Of course, Yale (7–6–2, 3–2–0 Ivy) also needs to win this weekend. Brown (9–4–2, 3–1–1 Ivy) is visiting New Haven to make its own bid for the championship.

“Because our league does not have a playoff tournament at the end, every game is very important,” defender Milan Tica ’13 said. “It forces teams to be very conservative and organized defensively. To play against that, we approach each game as though it is a cup final.”

The good news: at home Yale is 5–2–0, having scored 15 goals to itsopponents’ combined five.The bad news: The last time the Bears lost was Oct.1, at Columbia in double-overtime. Since then they have gone 4–0–2, tying ninth-ranked St. John’s and Cornell. Both of those games were on the road.

“Brown [is] always one of the better teams in the league, and they have high standards,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “They will be a tough opponent, and we need to bring our best concentration and effort.”

Yale took the lead early last year in Providence, but the Bears bounced back with a vicious second half, scoring three goals in and allowing the Bulldogs just one look at their net. The final score was4–1. This year the Elis will look to exert greater presure around the net, a place they struggled to reach at Columbia where they were outshot 6–2 in the first half. Brown also likes starting fast, outscoring its opponents 7–3 in the first half.

But the Bulldogs may have the edge in motivation, as Saturday will be senior day for captain Chris Dennen ’12, Marcus DiLallo ’12, Aden Farina-Henry ’12, Andy Hackbarth ’12, Charlie Neil ’12, Charlie Paris ’12 and Brad Rose ’12, who will be playing in the final home game of their careers. Just this season the group has produced 11 of the team’s 22 goals, and 15 of 25 assists for the season. But they are still looking for one championship.

“I can see the end of my career right before me…I can speak for the entire senior class, we don’t want it to end,” Dennen said.

Kickoff is 5:30 p.m. this Saturday at Reese Stadium.

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