M. SOCCER | Bulldogs battle to draw at Harvard

Captain and goalkeeper Bobby Thalman ’13 recorded his fifth shutout, although the match ended scorless.
Captain and goalkeeper Bobby Thalman ’13 recorded his fifth shutout, although the match ended scorless. Photo by Graham Harboe.

Early in the first half of the men’s soccer game on Saturday, forward Jenner Fox ’14 rifled a shot from a corner kick that scooted just wide of the goal.

The Bulldogs created a number of other chances, but neither they nor Harvard could find the back of the net in a hard-fought 0–0 overtime draw that opened their Ivy schedules.

“I’ll take it,” head coach Brian Tompkins said about the tie. “You’re never happy to not win, but I think it was a credible performance by our guys.”

While Tompkins acknowledged that the game was one that the team felt that it could win, he also recognized the positives of grabbing a point on the road against a tough rival.

The game featured the especially scrappy play typical of a rivalry showdown. The referee issued five yellow cards over the course of the match, including three for the Bulldogs.

“Everyone was motivated to try to get the win,” said captain Bobby Thalman ’13, who plays goalkeeper for the Bulldogs. “I think that showed not only through the yellow cards … but also just through the energy that you could feel on the field.”

The Bulldogs were able to harness that energy more effectively in the opening moments of the game, accruing a number of scoring chances within the first 20 minutes. Even though the game remained scoreless at the break, Thalman emphasized that the Bulldogs outplayed the Crimson in the first half.

As the second half began, Harvard began to apply more pressure on Yale’s squad, leading to a stronger second half performance by the Crimson. The Bulldogs did not pass the ball as well as they had in the first half, according to Tompkins, and they allowed the Crimson to step up and be more aggressive in the second halfattacking the goal. Defender Nick Alers ’14 said Thalman made a number of superb saves to parry Harvard’s best scoring opportunities.

Still, the Bulldogs refused to concede a goal.

“We bent, but did not break,” Alers said.

Both teams exhibited the same intense play that characterized regulation during the two 10-minute overtime periods, but the game ended without either tallying a goal.

Thalman said that while the team wanted to secure a win against Harvard, the Bulldogs were the only team in the Ivy League to go unbeaten on the road this past weekend.

Overall, the Crimson took 14 more corner kicks than the Bulldogs and outshot their opponenets 23-11. Tompkins, however, cautioned against reading too much into the statistics.

“It’s not necessarily the amount of shots you take, it’s what you do with them that’s important,” he said.

Thalman noted, however, that the team had room for improvement. He suggested that the Elis could jumpstart their offense in the future by settling down and moving down the field.

After getting its first Ivy League game under its belt, the team now looks forward to the rest of the Ivy League season.

“I think we’ll definitely make a couple of adjustments, but I think our main way of playing, our main style of playing won’t change,” Alers said. “I think we have the players and we have the style of play that we need to win the Ivy League this year.”

The Bulldogs will continue to seek their first Ivy League win this season this Saturday at Dartmouth.

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