By Dane Lund
After entering the weekend with an even record, the Elis have stalled on the brink of their Ivy season opener against Princeton this weekend. The Bulldogs battled to reclaim a winning record, but missed the mark with a 1-1 tie to Drake and a stifling 3-0 loss to Creighton during their tour of the Midwest for the Diadora Classic.
The Elis (2-3-1) started the weekend off in Des Moines, Iowa geared for battle. The team sized up their Drake (3-3-1) opponents and played them equally, shot for shot. But the first half proved fruitless, with both teams failing to score a goal. Drake broke the silence in the 51st minute when forward Garrett Webb was able to outmaneuver Bulldog goalie Erik Geiger ’08 with an unassisted goal.
The Elis, pressed to score a point to prevent a further slump in their record, couldn’t get their shots into the goal. Finally, at the 89-minute mark, forward Gage Hills ’07 drove the ball into the box and past the Drake goalie without an assist.
But time ran out. Although the Elis managed to fend off the Drake offense through two periods of overtime, the Drake defense curbed the hopes of a Bulldog victory.
Dissatisfied that they did not step up for the win, some Elis said they are glad they were able to stand up to a team as good as Drake.
“They were high pressure and direct, but I think we played very well,” Geiger said. “We dominated the second overtime, but we were really disappointed not to win that game.”
Not victorious, yet not failing, the team headed to Nebraska for the dimmer, second leg of the tournament. In a seeming repeat of the day before, neither Yale nor Creighton scored in the first half.
Within the first minute of play, the Creighton team showed the Bulldogs that they were ready to win. The Bluejays scored at the 56-minute mark on defender Chris Schuler’s header off of a corner kick. Four minutes later, after the ball was questionably saved from going out of bounds, forward Jeff Thayer shot past Geiger for a second goal. Creighton ended their scoring drive eight minutes later when forward Mo Travis tapped the ball in.
Although the Elis had time to recover from the Bluejays’ barrage, the barrier proved insurmountable. Yale managed to match Creighton with five shots on goal for the game, but Creighton goalie Matt Allan had five saves to Geiger’s two.
Despite the Bulldogs’ mediocre record over the weekend, star forward Alex Munns ’07 said the competition was above average. Boasting a crowd of 1,798 on Sunday, Creighton can rightfully call itself a soccer school. Still, the Elis said they could have held the Bluejays back for a victory.
“The score is indicative of a 12-minute period right after the second half began where we just were not mentally prepared,” Munns said. “We didn’t want to reward them for the work they were doing well, but that is exactly what we did.”
The Elis will have to forget the hard weekend quickly in order to shape up for their match against No. 17 Farleigh Dickinson on Wednesday. After that, the awaited Ivy League season begins against Princeton on Saturday.
“I think we just need to continue to work on our game in general,” defender Evan Stone ’07 said. “I think we played better this weekend than we’ve played in the past, so I’m optimistic about the future.”