With the score of last night’s men’s soccer contest, it might as well have been a football game.
Forward Alex Munns ’07 grabbed a hat trick as the Bulldogs (4-8, 2-1 Ivy) overpowered the Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-11-1) 7-0 at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. Gage Hills ’07 tallied an additional two goals, and Shannon Brooks ’06 and Nick Franchot ’07 snagged a goal apiece to complete the scoring. The Elis have won four of their last six games, and last night was their second shutout of the season.
“They just have a very good team,” Sacred Heart head coach Joe McGuigan said. “They outplayed us in every aspect of the game.”
Munns put Yale on the scoreboard just 13 minutes into the game. Captain Ryan Raybould ’05 aimed a direct kick from about 25 yards out into the box. Hills made first contact with the ball, bouncing a shot off the crossbar, and Munns followed through on the play with a low shot to the corner of the net, scoring his first of three for the night.
At 39:24, the Bulldogs scored their second goal. Josh Block ’07 crossed the ball in front of the goal, and Brooks deflected the pass into the goal to give the Elis a 2-0 halftime lead. The goal was Brooks’ first of the season.
Returning from the locker room, Yale switched goalkeepers. The Bulldogs exchanged Matt Aleksinas ’06 for Dwayne Whylly ’08. The two keepers each had a save in the victory.
“We have a lot of goalkeepers,” Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We’re still trying to get them all some experience. This was the kind of game where we felt we could use more than one.”
Hills opened the second half scoring at 54:19. Munns hit a pass to Hills, who beat the Pioneer defense and struck a shot past goalkeeper Jason Roeder. Less than a minute later, Brooks dropped a cross-ball just behind the Sacred Heart defense. Hills met the ball and headed it into the top part of the net to collect his second goal of the game and his fourth of the season.
After the fourth goal, the Pioneers substituted Chris Marchese for Roeder, hoping that a fresh presence in goal could revive their defensive effort. Roeder exited the game with three saves. At this point, the Elis’ superior conditioning began to take effect while the Pioneer defense slowed down and lost much of their intensity.
“Their defenders got tired, and that exposed them,” Hills said.
In the 69th minute, defender Jon Skalecki ’06 gained control of the ball at midfield. He passed it up to Munns, who dribbled around Marchese and tapped a shot into the open net, giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 advantage.
At 80:34, Franchot added yet another goal for the Elis. Forward Lindsey Williams ’05 had the assist on the play. The score was Franchot’s first career goal at Yale.
Munns completed the scoring and his hat trick during the 83rd minute. Hills dribbled into the middle of the Sacred Heart box, drawing the defense and the goalkeeper. He then passed the ball to Munns, who had an open net to shoot on.
Munns now leads the Elis in scoring with six goals and 13 points. The previous leader in both categories was midfielder Andrew Dealy ’05, who has four goals and 11 points on the season. Dealy, who sat out last night’s game because of his fifth yellow card, is now tied for second place on both counts with Hills. Dealy expects to return against the University of Pennsylvania this weekend.
Tompkins felt that the blowout victory was just what the Bulldogs needed.
“This was a great confidence builder,” Tompkins said. “We’ve had a difficult time scoring goals this year, so hopefully this will give us some confidence for upcoming Ivy games.”
After last night’s game, the Elis look forward to taking on Penn this weekend, which sits atop the Ivy League along with Princeton. The Bulldogs will take on the Quakers (6-3-2, 2-0-1) at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m.
“Penn’s having a great year,” Tompkins said. “They’re talented, well-coached, and they’ll present a huge challenge for us Saturday. Our games with them are always close and well-contested.”
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