After an emotional comeback victory against Harvard last Saturday, Yale could not muster a similar second half performance last night, falling at Albany.
The Elis (2–7–0, 1–0 Ivy) squeaked one goal past Great Danes goalkeeper Tim Allen, who made six saves off of 13 first half shots. But Albany (2–7–2, 0–1–0 American East) regrouped in the second half and scored late into the period to defeat the Bulldogs.
“The toughest game to play is always the one immediately after a big win,” defender Nick Alers ’14 said. “We had some good moments but we looked a little flat at times. The good thing is that we got this out of our system and hopefully we’ll be ready to go for the big Ivy game on Saturday.”
The Elis’ trip up north did not start off well, with the Great Danes scoring early in the first half. The allowed goal was the result of a set-piece play, a common theme for the Bulldogs this season. However, the Yale players quickly recovered and were soon peppering Allen and the Albany goal. Defender Henry Flugstad-Clarke ’17 had his effort off a corner kick smartly cleared by an opposing defender just over a minute after the goal. The Bulldogs were beginning to dominate the match with Allen having to make four saves in a fifteen minute period, denying Cameron Kirdzik ’17 twice and Henry Albrecht ’17 and Clarke once each.
The game would turn on a spectacular game-tying effort from captain Max McKiernan ’14. In the 34th minute, after a defensive clearance, the Louisville, Ky. native met the ball on the half-volley from about 30 yards out and unleashed a rocket that flew into the side netting to tie the game at 1-1. The goal represented only the second the midfielder has scored so far in his Yale career.
“It was the best goal I’ve seen any Yale player score since I’ve been here,” Alers said.
After McKiernan’s fantastic effort, the Bulldogs kept up the pressure, but Allen was up to the test. The Great Dane keeper, who is second in the American East Conference in saves, played a critical role in keeping the game at 1–1 during the first half. One of the Elis’ best chances to score came right at the end of the first period when leading scorer Peter Jacobson ’14 hit a powerful shot from distance at Allen. But the Albany keeper did well to parry the shot and save the rebound attempt right before the whistle blew for the half.
While the Bulldogs had all the momentum going into the second half, the Great Danes jumped out to a great start at the beginning of the period and pinned Yale in its half for most of the period. Other than Allen’s save on Jacobson in the 55th minute, the Elis did not generate any real scoring chances and often gave the ball away in the final third despite a nice build-up play that featured exquisite one-touch passing.
The game changed again after a give away in Yale’s defensive half in the 82nd minute. An Albany forward stole possession and played a quick one-two with a teammate who put him in on goal. The forward chipped the ball past Yale goalkeeper Ryan Simpson ’17 for the go-ahead score. The late goal seemed to flatten the Bulldogs, who could not muster a shot in the last 9 minutes of the game.
“We need to be more consistent,” McKiernan said. “Maybe we had a little bit of a hangover from the Harvard win. However, that’s not a good enough excuse for losing tonight. Set pieces have definitely been a thorn in our side. We’ll have to continue working on that this week in practice before Dartmouth.”
The Bulldogs take on the Big Green at Reese Stadium this Saturday at 7:00 p.m.