When the men’s soccer team wins, the outcome is the same regardless of who is on the losing end.
All eight of Yale’s victories this season have been decided by a single goal, whether it has been against NEC bottom-dweller Quinnipiac, nationally ranked University of Connecticut or .500-hopeful University of Pennsylvania.
Saturday in Philadelphia, midfielder Jay Alberts ’04 scored the game-winning goal midway through the second half as the Bulldogs defeated the Quakers 1-0.
After dropping two straight games, the Bulldogs have won their last two in a row.
“They’ve all been close,” midfielder Ryan Raybould ’05 said. “But it is not so important how we’ve won. A win is a win.”
How exactly Yale (8-5-0, 3-1-0 Ivy) has won can be attributed to strong team defense and timely scoring, as evidenced Saturday.
The Bulldogs’ backline was masterful. The combined efforts of defenders Brian Roberts ’04, Shannon Brooks ’06, Marc Vimolratana ’06 and Jon Skalecki ’05 limited the Quakers to one shot in the first half and four shots total.
Although Penn (4-6-2, 1-3-0) was able to control possession at lengths throughout the game, it rarely threatened.
“We didn’t allow them a lot of time on the ball,” midfielder Louis Pacilio ’06 said. “We kept the pressure up and they weren’t able to create many opportunities for themselves.”
As for scoring, Alberts provided the Bulldogs the only goal they would need. With 17 minutes remaining in the second half, the swift-footed senior played a ball from midfielder Andrew Dealy ’05 down the right side of the field and fired a shot past Quaker goalkeeper Matthew Haefner.
Dealy picked up his team-leading eighth assist of the season.
“Front to back and back to front our defense is solid,” Raybould said. “We rely on our team defense to get us through games, and hopefully we find a way to score, like we did against Penn.”
Matt Aleksinas ’06, who boasts a 1.00 goal against average, recorded two saves for his sixth shutout this year. Haefner had two saves for the losers.
Yale’s performance — Aleksinas’ in particular — harkens back to the Bulldogs’ five-game winning streak from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11, during which they won all their games by final scores of 1-0.
“We’re able to maintain our concentration throughout our games this year,” Raybould said. “That has been one of our strengths. You need to in 1-0 games. All it takes is one lapse.”
Raybould said Saturday’s win was a turning point for the Bulldogs.
“This is the game that we hope sets the tone for us for the rest of the season,” Raybound said. “If everything goes according to plan on paper, which usually never happens, then it will come down to Brown.”
The Bulldogs are currently in second place in Ivy League standings, while the No. 14 Bears, undefeated in conference play, are in first place. If both teams continue their winning ways, their Nov. 8 face-off in New Haven may be for the Ivy League championship and accompanying automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup.
But Raybould cautioned against looking too far ahead into the season.
“We just have to take one game at a time,” Raybould said. “We have to stay focused. In the Ivy League, against any team, if you lose focus, you lose the game.”
Yale next hosts Central Connecticut in a non-conference match-up Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
“[Central Connecticut] is a good team,” Pacilio said. “We don’t know what to expect really, but they’re ranked in the region, so it’s going to be a tough game.”
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