After a tough loss, the men’s soccer coaching staff usually has a good idea of what went wrong. But at the end of Tuesday night’s game against Boston College, Yale head coach Brian Tompkins struggled to put his finger on what had just happened.
“Sometimes when you get outplayed by a team and you lose, it’s easier to take,” Tompkins said. “That wasn’t the case today. There is no way we deserved to lose this game.”
The Bulldogs suffered a devastating double overtime 1-0 loss to the Eagles in Boston. After playing 109 minutes of scoreless soccer, BC snuck in a goal with just 50 seconds left in double overtime to steal the game. It looked as if the game would end in a scoreless tie, but after the ball was served into the Yale box, BC’s Sherron Manswell slipped behind the Bulldog defense and volleyed it in for the game-winning goal.
“It wasn’t a good goal to give up,” Tompkins said. “To lose in this fashion is a very bitter pill to swallow.”
While the Bulldogs did not dominate play, they had numerous chances to take control of a contest that was clearly up for grabs. Yale came out of the gates attacking, setting up a scoring opportunity just one minute into the game. But the shot bounced off the crossbar into the hands of BC goalkeeper Shane Boggis. Moments later the Bulldogs had yet another golden opportunity to score, only to be denied by a diving Boggis. These sequences seemed to foreshadow a series of unlucky bounces and mishaps that would ultimately doom the Elis.
Yale was led by another stellar performance from their defense, particularly keeper Dwayne Whylly ’08. Whylly — an emergency replacement for starter Erik Geiger ’08 who went down with a minor injury in Monday’s practice — not only stopped four shots but also engineered several Yale counterattacks with his quick outlet passes.
After the game, forward Alex Munns ’07 said he was impressed with how Whylly handled himself last night with only a day’s notice. But Whylly explained that all the goalkeepers approach each game ready to play.
“During the practice sessions we prepare as if [anyone of us] is going to play,” Whylly said. “That is all the goalkeepers’ responsibility, to know that they have to step up when needed.”
Whylly was not the only impressive Bulldog on a disappointing night. Defenders Jake Miller ’07 and Alex Guzinksi ’09, who Tompkins said had his best game of the year, were also instrumental in stopping a talented BC offense. On the offensive side, midfielder James Stewart ’07 consistently put the ball in dangerous places to set up numerous scoring chances.
Munns said that the score does not reflect the quality of their performance.
“It’s just very deflating and really upsetting,” Munns said. “The positive is that we know we can go anywhere and outplay anybody. Big-time ACC or Ivy team, it doesn’t matter who.”
Heading into this week, the Bulldogs were riding high with a three-game unbeaten streak, rapidly moving towards their first postseason birth in six years. But by the end of Tuesday night, Yale’s playoff resume had taken a devastating shot.
“We’re trying not to dwell on it, but it is a huge blow to our chances,” Munns said. “We were tied for third in the region [going into this game], and now with at least three teams ahead of us, it’s going to be difficult to secure an at-large big.”
But as Tompkins explained, the only way to recover from such a game is to simply put it behind them and focus on the next task.
“With games like this you can’t overanalyze it,” Tompkins said. “We just have to use it as motivation for the next game. They know they played well and competed hard. And they know that in Saturday’s game [against Ivy leader Brown] they have to play that way again if they want to win.”