With a win against Cornell, the Bulldogs could move to 3–0 in the Ivy League for the first time in head coach Brian Tompkins’s career and extend their lead atop the conference standings.
“I am pleased with the mindset and work ethic of the team,” Tompkins said. “They have shown great belief in what they are doing and that will continue to be critical in the weeks ahead.”
Yale (3–7–0, 2–0–0 Ivy) beat Dartmouth 1–0 in double overtime last Saturday night in another thrilling matchup at Reese Stadium. Tomorrow, The Elis will shift their starting time to late afternoon, but will still look to impress the crowds. Cornell (6–3–3, 0–2–0) comes to Yale on the back of a four-game winless streak, which includes a 2–1 double overtime loss to Harvard on Oct. 12 and more recently a 0–0 double overtime tie with Colgate on Oct. 15.
While other strong teams like Dartmouth and Columbia have struggled in Ivy League play despite their strong results in non-conference play, the Bulldogs have thrived in their two Ancient Eight showdowns thus far. A third win on Saturday would be further gratification for a Yale squad that went through tough games and disappointing losses before starting Ivy League play two weeks ago.
“We definitely learned a lot about ourselves in those tough non-conference games,” defender Nick Alers ’14 said. “It’s nice to finally get some wins to reflect the good things we’ve been doing. We know we still have a lot more to prove though.”
The Bulldogs have slowly been picking up steam with improving offense and defense in the latter half of the season. Behind goalkeeper Blake Brown’s ’15 stellar performance, the Elis had their first shutout last Saturday against Dartmouth. On the offensive end, the Elis have scored a combined four goals in their last three games after scoring just three total goals in the five games before that.
Forwards Cameron Kirdzik ’17 and Peter Jacobson ’14 have been the Elis’ main scoring threats, netting seven of the team’s 11 goals thus far. Kirdzik, who leads the Ivy League in shots, scored his third goal of the season against Dartmouth last weekend and was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Oct. 7, for his efforts.
The Elis could be involved in another low scoring affair on Saturday. The Bulldogs have featured in seven games that were decided by one or fewer goals. Cornell has had a similar stat line with every single one of its games thus far decided by the same margin. Six of the Big Red’s 12 games this season have gone into overtime. Much of this is due to the Big Red’s stingy defense, which has conceded the fewest goals in the Ivy League. Cornell has used all three of their goalkeepers to help keep five clean sheets.
However, the Cornell offense has not been prolific thus far and is tied with Yale with the second-fewest goals in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs have conceded only three total goals in four games at Reese Stadium this season and will need a complete performance on both offense and defense in order to overcome a talented Big Red squad.
“Leadership has been a key part of the team’s recent results,” Tompkins said. “Our seniors have created a hard-working, never-say-die mindset and the benefits have shown themselves late in games.”
Yale takes on Cornell at Reese Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.