MEN’S SOCCER | Yale looks to get back on track against QPac

The Elis will take on Quinnipiac this weekend following four-straight losses.
The Elis will take on Quinnipiac this weekend following four-straight losses. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

Yale will look to get back on track after four strait losses against local rival Quinnipiac at Reese Stadium.

The Elis (1-5-0, 0-0 Ivy) return from two games in California last weekend. The trip included a heartbreaking overtime loss to Cal Poly, which saw Yale surrender a two-goal lead. Yale’s play has been steadily improving this season exhibiting exciting attacking play and resolute defense for large portions of games.

Forward Peter Jacobson ’14, second in the Ivy League in points with nine, leads the Bulldogs on the offense with four goals and an assist. Midfielder Scott Armbrust ’14 leads the team in assists with two, while forwards Avery Schwartz ’16, Jenner Fox ’14 and Henry Albrecht ’17 each have one assist. Freshman forward Cameron Kirdzik ’17 has been sensational in his first campaign scoring two goals and registering 12 shots, second only to Jacobson’s 15 shots. Winger Cody Wilkins ’13, who is coming off of two injury plagued seasons, has also been a bright spot for the Elis on offense registering a goal and five shots.

Two standout senior defenders lead Yale in the back. Captain Max McKiernan ’14 and Nick Alers 14’ have been stalwarts in defense starting all six games thus far. Goalkeeper Blake Brown ’15 has performed admirably in net having a total of 16 saves. Sophomore defenders Tyler Detorie ’16 and Philip Piper ’16 look set to have another full season in the back, both having featured in 16 games in 2012.

“I think going forward we have to do two things better,” Alers said. “One, we have to do a better job of keeping possession and connecting passes under pressure. Two, we have to stop giving away cheap goals, particularly off set pieces.”

Yale has been particularly vulnerable from set pieces thus far will look to improve quickly as they have been leaking goals at the back and are second to last in the Ivy League in goals against with a total of 11. The Bulldogs also need to be more clinical at the offensive end where they have managed to score two or more goals in two games and have been shutout three times despite having a decisive edge in shots in each of those contests.

“Offensively we are looking to attack quicker and get forward right after wining possession,” defender Pablo Espinola ’16 said. “On defense, we are pushing higher and trying to force turnover and offsides. The Ivy League season ushers in games that are played at a faster pace and we are going to have to have more ball possession going forward.”

The Elis will look to snap their losing streak against the Bobcats (1-3-3, 0-0 MAAC) in only their second game at home this season. The Bulldogs are undefeated against Quinnipiac in all of their 11 meetings with a record of 9-0-2 that includes last year’s narrow 1-0 win courtesy of Ambrust’s first half strike. Although the Bobcats are coming off of a 3-0 home loss to Hartford, they should not be underestimated, as they took perennial ACC powerhouse Boston College to a double overtime 2-2 draw. Yale’s offense will have to be in top shape against junior goalkeeper Borja Angoitia, who has two shutouts this season and was last week’s MAAD defensive player of the week.

“We always get excited to play Qpac,” defender Alers said. “Coming off this tough overtime loss, we can’t wait to get back on the field and get a win.”

The match up is also Yale’s final game before the start of the Ivy League campaign. The Bulldogs have conference opponents in four of their next six games after Friday’s matchup.

Yale faces Quinnipiac Friday at 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium. ‘‘

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