After dropping two straight one-goal games to Ivy League competition at home, the men’s soccer team finally won one — and at a place where it had not won in six years.
Lindsey Williams’ ’05 second-half goal gave the Bulldogs (9-4-1, 2-3-1 Ivy) the Ivy win they had sought for the past several weeks; they defeated Brown (5-7-4, 1-3-2) 1-0 in Providence, R.I., Saturday night.
“The best thing we did was we found a way to win,” Williams said. “It wasn’t a pretty match, but we did what we had to do to score. That was something we didn’t do in the past two games.”
For the Bulldogs, who had not beaten Brown in Rhode Island since 1996, the win gave them a shot at finishing at .500 in the Ivy League. Yale already lost to Harvard, Pennsylvania, and Columbia.
In addition, they enter their Tuesday contest against No. 16 Boston College with renewed confidence and momentum.
“It was important to get a win,” said head coach Brian Tompkins. “We’ve played well and haven’t won the last couple of games, and it was important to get the wins back because we’re going to need a high-confidence, energetic performance on Tuesday to get a win.”
The story of the first half was the stellar play by both teams’ goalies, each of whom had a big save to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.
Yale’s Matt Aleksinas ’06, making his first collegiate start, was impressive throughout, making a notable stop shortly into the first half.
Aleksinas saved a free kick by Brown’s Marcos Romaneiro, but it popped out several feet in front of him, giving a Brown player a point-blank shot on net with Aleksinas on the ground.
But the freshman goalie stretched out to block the ball out of bounds, preserving his shutout and giving Yale players a sigh of relief.
“He did very well,” Tompkins said. “He had a couple of important saves, and he handled his first start in an Ivy game very well, and he played with a lot of confidence and did a good job.”
Brown’s Peter Mahoney, not to be outdone, stopped a strong breakaway shot from Yale midfielder Brian Roberts ’04, ensuring that the two teams would head into halftime in a scoreless tie.
“They had a lot of pressure on us early, causing us to get a little stretched out, but we did what we needed to do,” said defender Steve Gibbons ’03 of the Brown backfield. “Overall, I am happy with the way our defense played.”
The majority of the second half was like the first, until with less than 10 minutes on the clock the Elis were able to get on the scoreboard.
Midfielder Andrew Dealy ’05 began by intentionally letting a pass go through his legs to fool a Brown defender. Midfielder Ryan Raybould ’05 then picked up the ball and spun 180 degrees with it before shooting a ball that Williams redirected into the Brown netbox.
“Raybould made a spin turn and fired a shot that looked wide and I took it out of the air and deflected it in,” Williams said.
The goal tied Williams for the league lead in goals with 10 and vaulted him to first place in overall points with 22.
From there, the Yale defense held the Bears scoreless to preserve the one goal victory. The Elis outshot the Bears in the second half 7-4, although the teams both ended the game with 12 shots.
“It wasn’t pretty at times, but we won, and we’ll take that,” Gibbons said.
With only a day to prepare for Boston College, the team will need to play a cohesive and focused contest with the Eagles.
“The game was huge for us because we needed an Ivy win on the road, and it definitely gave us something to build off of going into the [Boston College] game,” Williams said.
With early-season wins over strong teams such as defending national champion University of North Carolina, the Bulldogs have the ability to upset the Eagles.
“They’re a very dangerous offensive team,” Tompkins said “They’re well coached and a very dynamic team, and they’re going to give us everything we can handle. But we’ve done well against good teams, and we’ll be prepared.”