M. SOCCER | Bulldogs fend off Raiders in double overtime

After a double-overtime battle, the Elis (0–3–1) could not gain the upper hand on their opponents this weekend.
After a double-overtime battle, the Elis (0–3–1) could not gain the upper hand on their opponents this weekend. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

Despite stepping up on offense and battling through a double overtime, the Elis (0–3–1) could not gain the upper hand on their opponents this weekend.

On a breezy early autumn night Friday, numerous Bulldogs supporters filled Reese stadium for a match between the Elis and the defending Patriot League’s champion Colgate that would go to double overtime.

Just a minute before the end of the scoreless first overtime, forward Max McKiernan ’15 shot from a spectacular 15 yards out but his attempt bounced off the crossbar. True to an age-old soccer superstition that a team will fail to score again after hitting the crossbar, McKiernan’s attempt proved to be the last golden opportunity for the Elis, and the game ended scoreless.

“It was a tough game, but we showed our character and definitely fought to the end,” defender Tyler Detorie ’16 said.

The Elis played a man down for the majority of the match, after defender Andy Hackbarth ’13 took down a Colgate player who had a clear path to the goal and received a red card at 9:55.

Head coach Brian Tompkins said he was generally pleased with the team’s discipline and perseverance despite facing Colgate with only 10 players.

“It was hard to play offense with men down since everyone feels more burdened,” defender Pablo Espinola ’16 added.

Just eight minutes after the kick off, the Bulldogs opened up two consecutive scoring chances.

An especially lethal shot by Midfielder Kevin Michalak ’15 hit the post, and shortly after, last season’s top scoring forward Peter Jacobson ’14’s took a shot that went wide.

Without much change in formation, the Elis continued their play with a stable defense and recorded four shots by the end of second half.

“We kept four in the back, although we pressured a little lower,” Detorie said. “However, we threw bodies around and blocked shots, and were more compact.”

Captain and goalkeeper Bobby Thalman ’13 was busy playing the life-support for the team. Thalman fended off five shots, and his consistent performance allowed the Elis to secure the draw. The goalie’s instincts shined eight seconds before the close of the second overtime, as he dove to block a sudden, strong shot from Raider Shane Conlin’s.

On the other side of the field, the visiting team proved equally adept at blocking shots from the Elis. In the overtime periods, the Raiders blocked shots from forward Avery Schwartz ’16, midfielder Conner Lachenbruch ’15, defender Milan Tica ’13 and Michalak.

Overall, the Bulldogs came up just two shots shy of the Raiders (10–12), but far outdid Colgate in saves (5–1).

On Sunday, the Elis’ efforts ended in a 1–0 loss against Fairfield at Lessing Field. Despite demonstrating some impressive moves offensively and high-pressure defense, the team failed to avenge last season’s 1-0 loss to the Stags.

“It was a disappointing result, but there were still some positives to be taken from today’s game,” Thalman said.

The Bulldogs started off strong at Fairfield’s home turf. Just two minutes after the kick off, forward Scott Armbrust ’14 rifled a shot, but it ended up going wide.

For the next 11 minutes, the Bulldogs took two more shots to shake up the hosts and dictated the flow of the game.

The Bulldogs relentlessly knocked at the Stags’ doorsteps, with a shot from Jacobson that Fairfield goalkeeper Michael O’Keeffe blocked.

For the rest of the first half, the Bulldogs effectively shut down the hosts’ renewed offensive drive. Eight minutes before the whistle, breaking through Yale’s tight wall, Fairfield’s Reco McLaren deftly maneuvered passed through the Elis defense and fired a shot that surprised everyone, but was fortunately blocked.

“I felt we possessed the ball better and improved our team defense,” Thalman said.

In the next half, the Bulldogs took on an offensive approach, but 26 minutes into the second half, the Elis allowed Fairfield’s George Newton to take a 25-yard shot.

The ball went straight past Thalman into the Yale’s net, and the hosts did not stop there. Just 15 minutes after his first goal, Fairfield’s Daniel Shaw kicked a shot, but this time Thalman jumped to deny the ball from passing the goal line.

Although forward Schwartz nearly found a way to level the scoreboard at 89:34, the Fairfield goalkeeper made a spectacular save to hang onto the lead.

With a stronger record than the Stags in shots and saves, 9-8 and 3-2 respectively, the Elis closed out the weekend’s matches without a win.

“We just now need to improve our finishing quality so that we can score goals and put team away,” Thalman said.

The Bulldogs will seek their first victory Friday when they travel to the home of the local rival Quinnipiac.

Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.

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