One well-directed touch put the men’s soccer team’s anxieties to rest — for now.
On the precipice of having his team’s postseason hopes dashed, Andrew Dealy ’05 deflected a Marc Vimolratana ’06 shot into the goal just seconds into the second overtime to lift Yale over No. 23 Columbia, 2-1, Saturday at Baker Field in New York.
The win is the Bulldogs’ eighth in their last eleven games and keeps Yale, which is currently second in Ivy League standings, on pace with first-place Brown. The Bears beat Penn, 1-0, Saturday in Providence to remain undefeated in conference play.
“It’s a big win for us,” defender Jon Skalecki ’05 said. “It keeps us in the race for the Ivy League title. We still have a shot.”
After a scoreless first half, forward Alex Munns ’07 scored his fourth goal of the season at 61:41 to put Yale (9-6, 4-1 Ivy) up, 1-0.
The Lions (9-4-1, 2-2-1) answered in the 79th minute when Scott Waddell headed a deep cross past Bulldogs’ goaltender Matt Aleksinas ’06.
The situation had a tinge of nightmarish deja vu. On Wednesday, Yale built a 2-0 lead before Central Connecticut scored three goals in the last seven minutes of the game to notch the upset.
“We had to take a second and tell ourselves that it was not going to happen again,” Munns said.
While the Lions did not score, neither did the Bulldogs, and the game headed into overtime.
As the players regrouped, Justin Burton ’05 gathered his teammates. Burton, well-aware of the game’s ramifications, took it upon himself to impart some words of motivation and inspiration.
“He told us that a tie is a loss and that we had to leave it all on the field,” Munns said. “We knew we had to win.”
A tie would have practically eliminated the Bulldogs from contention for the Ivy League championship. In order to secure the title, not only would the Bulldogs have to defeat Brown this Saturday, but on the following Saturday, the Bears would have to lose to Dartmouth, which is winless in Ancient Eight competition.
With all this in mind, the Bulldogs retook the field. Determined as they were, they could not find the back of the net. In the meantime, the defense shut down the Lions, sending the game into a second overtime.
Play was fairly even in the first overtime, as it had been in regulation. In fact, through 100 minutes of play, the teams had matched each other shot for shot. But the Bulldogs ultimately outshot the Lions, 16-15 — the difference being the sole and decisive shot in the second overtime.
At 100:28, Dealy redirected Vimolratana’s shot inside the right post for the golden goal.
“We persisted until the end of regulation and through overtime,” Skalecki said. “We never gave up and eventually we wore them down.”
The Bulldogs have had their shares of ups and downs this season — from a five-game winning streak that included victories over nationally ranked University of Connecticut and arch-rival Harvard to Wednesday’s heartbreaker against Central Connecticut. Saturday’s win marks the latest peak, as well as the beginning of a new season, Munns said.
“We’ve adopted the slogan: November is a new season,” Munns said. “If we win our next two games, we’re Ivy League champs. Saturday’s win is the first step in the shortened season.”
Yale will host the No. 11 Bears (9-3-1, 5-0) Saturday at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
“We knew [the Columbia game] was going to be tough going in, because of the loss on Wednesday and also because we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Munns said. “We’ve been looking forward to playing Brown the entire season.”
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