In one of the first athletic contests between Quinnipiac and Yale since the Bulldogs triumphed in the 2013 NCAA Hockey National Championship, the Bobcats exacted revenge on the soccer field, scoring an early goal to beat Yale 1–0.
“We learn something from every match we play,” captain and midfielder Max McKiernan ’14 said. “Unfortunately, we had to learn from a loss. We had a great week of training leading up to Qpac, and despite the result we definitely have some key takeaways that will prepare us for Harvard on Saturday.”
The Bulldogs (1–6–0, 0–0 Ivy) came into the contest undefeated in their past 11 matches against Quinnipiac, yet on the back of a four-game losing streak overall. The Bobcats (2–3–3, 0–0 MAAC) suffered a 3–0 home loss to Hartford in their last game.
Right from the first whistle, the Elis applied pressure, earning two corners and blocking a shot within the first minute of the game. However, Quinnipiac scored in the sixth minute via forward Simon Hinde, who hammered home a half volley after a deflected corner kick. Hinde has scored five of the Bobcats’ seven goals this season. Set pieces have been an issue for the Bulldogs this season, with the team having conceded seven of their 10 goals on set pieces.
Quinnipiac kept up the pressure and had a further three shots in the next 15 minutes. In a potentially game-changing moment, Yale goalkeeper Blake Brown ’15 came up big in the 21st minute, making a diving stop on a one-on-one breakaway attempt. The Elis, buoyed by Brown’s heroics, went on the attack but could not capitalize before halftime despite forward Jenner Fox’s ’13 three shots. Quinnipiac ended the half with the lead and a 6–4 advantage in shots.
After the break, the counter-attacking styles of each team became all the more apparent. The Bulldogs and Bobcats traded corner kicks and shots for the first 20 minutes of the second period. Quinnipiac saw two shots go wide of Yale’s net, while Bulldog striker Avery Schwartz ’16 forced the Bobcat goalie, Borja Angoitia, into a save early on.
As the Elis played with more urgency, the attack created more chances, garnering four shots and two corner kicks in the last 20 minutes. The Bobcats mustered only two shots in the same time span.
Despite being under pressure for most of the second half, the Quinnipiac defense stayed resolute and did not concede a goal for the third time this season. Fox saw his shot in the 71st minute saved while forward Cameron Kirdzik ’17 had his shot blocked in the 73rd minute.
The shutout was the ninth of Angoitia’s career, good for second on the all–time shutout list for the Bobcats. On the other end, Brown had two saves in net.
The shots by Fox and Kirdzik represented the only the Elis’ only shots on target for the night. Fox ended the day with five shots while Kirdzik added three.
“I think that we’ll have to be more than just a counterattacking team to win the Ivy League,” defender Nick Alers ’13 said. “We’ll need to be able to play quickly and more directly at times, and Qpac was good practice for that. But there will be times where we’ll need to dictate the game and build more intricately. We hope to do a better job of that Saturday than we did during the Qpac game.”
According to McKiernan, the first seven games of the Elis’ season are mainly seen as preparation for the upcoming Ivy League slate, which begins against Harvard this Saturday.
Four of the Bulldogs’ next six games are against conference opponents, while the final three contests of the season are against Ivy League teams.
“The mindset of this team is very good,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “They have learned a lot in the early stages of the season, and although they have had to learn some lessons the hard way, they know that the momentum of the season can change very quickly with a couple of good results in Ivy play.”
Despite being on a five-game losing streak, the Bulldogs know they can play with the best after competing well against two tough California-based teams last weekend. Additionally, with the exception of a 3–1 loss to powerhouse UCSB, every one of the Bulldogs losses in the last five games has been by a one-goal margin.
Yale takes on Harvard at Reese Stadium this Saturday at 7 p.m.