In the last game of the season and with little to play for but pride, the men’s soccer team travels to Princeton with a chance to finish third in the Ivy League.
Coupled with an unlikely Dartmouth victory at Brown, a Yale (4–10–2, 2–2–2 Ivy) win would allow the Elis to jump both the Tigers and the Bears in the standings to record their best finish in the Ancient Eight since 2005, when Yale tied for first place in the conference. Princeton (6–9–1, 3–2–1 Ivy) has lost three of its last four games but has a strong home record, winning five of its seven matches at Roberts Stadium.
“With only pride on the line, I expect this to be the hardest working performance that our team will have all year,” goalkeeper Blake Brown ’15 said. “Every game this year our primary goal has been to play the best we can for each other. Being out of contention for the league title doesn’t change that, we just have a bigger motivation to send off the seniors on a good result.”
The seven members of the class of 2014 will play their last official game for the Bulldogs at Princeton. The seniors have compiled a 19–37–11 record over their four years and have been an integral part of the program.
Each senior has featured in at least 14 games this season. Captain Max McKiernan ’14 and defender Nick Alers ’14 have both started all 16 games. Forward Peter Jacobson ’14 has finished as Yale’s top point-getter the past two seasons, finishing second his freshman year, and has amassed 25 points in his career. Jacobson is also tied for the team lead in points this season.
“I’m sure there will be some emotion on Saturday for all of us seniors,” McKiernan said. “Yale soccer has been a huge part of our lives and the fact that its coming to an end hasn’t really sunk in yet. Hopefully we will go out with a win.”
Jacobson and the rest of the Bulldog offense will look to pounce on a Tiger defense that is tied with Yale for the most goals conceded in the Ivy League this season. The Yale attack has been on fire in recent weeks, scoring eight goals in its last four games.
The Bulldog’s defense played spectacularly in October, conceding only six goals in seven games, but has struggled in November. The Elis slipped back to the bottom of the Ancient Eight in total goals against by surrendering six goals in their last two games. Opponent set pieces have continued to be the Achilles heel of the defense. Last weekend against Brown, the Bears scored two goals in a 10-minute span from free kicks.
The Elis will have to be mindful of the Tigers’ clinical forwards, Thomas Sanner and Cameron Porter. Each has scored seven goals this year and rank in the top five in the Ivy League in both points and goals.
The Elis have a 9–6–2 record against the Tigers during the tenure of head coach Brian Tompkins. Last year, Yale lost the matchup 1–0 at Reese Stadium on Sanner’s first-half goal.
“I would like the team to go out there and play their hearts out for the guys who are stepping into the Yale uniform for the last time in their lives,” Brown said. “We have proven that we can score goals and limit goals against, hopefully we can go out there and do both against a good Princeton team.”
Yale travels to Princeton to play the Tigers this Saturday at 3:00 p.m.