It is time for a win.
After six consecutive losses, the men’s soccer team (0-6) takes on Fairfield (3-1-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. The Bulldogs will seek to turn their luck around and maintain their winning streak against the Stags, whom they edged 1-0 during both the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
“By looking at the recent history of the game, we can expect a fairly even contest, with both teams playing good soccer,” Fairfield head coach Carl Rees said. “We can expect it to be quite tight — that’s usually the context of these games.”
The quality of Yale’s opposition is mainly responsible for the fact that the Elis have yet to record a win. This season, the Bulldogs have played some of the most competitive teams in the country, including Division-I powerhouse Hartwick College, nationally ranked Southern Methodist University, and University of Tulsa. Difficult games such as these have given Yale the opportunity to recognize and address its weaknesses for upcoming games.
Eli captain Ryan Raybould ’05 said the first six or seven games were a learning process, and he was optimistic that the team would come together.
“We’ve played against some very good teams,” Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We’re still trying to sort through some things tactically and we’re hoping to develop a bit more consistency on both offense and defense.”
Rees said he realizes that the Bulldogs field a strong team and should not be discounted solely on the basis of their losing record.
“I expect [Tompkins] to have his team well-organized and ready for a good battle when we go up there,” Rees said.
In preparation for tonight’s game, the Bulldogs have taken into account two of the Stags’ midfielders, Vasilis Androutsos and Danny Atwell. Between the two, they account for four of the Stags’ nine goals and three of the team’s five assists. The fact that the Stags have incorporated Androutsos and Atwell into the team, rather than featuring them as individual players, is one of the reasons for Fairfield’s success this season.
Rees said the Bulldogs are dangerous opponents on the field because they are centered around teamwork and cooperation.
“More than any individual player, it’s just the overall personality of the group,” he said. “We’re preparing for the whole team.”
Fairfield promises to be a good team for the Bulldogs to measure themselves against. The Stags have already played four Ivy League teams, walking away from their Ancient Eight match-ups 1-1-2. As the Elis prepare for Fairfield, they are not forgetting that their Ivy League season starts Saturday, with a game against Harvard.
“We want to pull it together against Fairfield,” Raybould said. “We want to be playing our best against Harvard, because [the Ivy games] are the most important games of the season. [Fairfield is] tough and competitive, which is how the Ivy League is, so it’s fitting that this is the last game before we start Ivy League games.”