The men’s soccer team has perfected the art of the tie.
“We tied again,” midfielder Andy Shorten ’11 said in frustration.
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“Again, again,” forward Kevin Pope ’10 echoed.
The Bulldogs had recorded two games knotted at 0, then tied a match 1-1 against Cornell on Saturday. After last night’s 2-2 draw against Central Connecticut State, maybe a 3-3 result is next.
Yale’s fourth 110-minute battle in five games proved a tough matchup between the intra-state foes, which bore a striking resemblance to the past Eli ties. But the Bulldogs did get two goals on the board, a feat they had not accomplished since Sept. 23 against UW-Milwaukee.
The Eli attack was haunted by near misses early on, as has often been the case this season. Two shots ricocheted off the posts and the CCSU defense deflected several more — Yale missed 17 of their 19 shots. Because of a faltering offense, the Bulldogs have struggled to come back from early deficits all year. They found themselves trailing in the first half again last night.
At 5:39, Blue Devil Christopher Brown drew captain and goalkeeper Erik Geiger ’08 out on the attack, beat defender Alex Guzinski ’09 and shot past the out-of-position goalkeeper. Geiger and defender Frank Piasta ’09 raced to stop the impending goal. Piasta booted the ball away, but it deflected off of Geiger and past the line for Yale’s first own goal of the season.
“The first goal was just a miscommunication,” Eli head coach Brian Tompkins said. “Both guys were certainly in the right spot. It was just overzealousness — a freak incident.”
The first half finished with the Elis down 1-0 after a subpar showing by the usually solid defense and poor possession in the midfield. But the resilient Bulldogs rose to the challenge and fought back in the second stanza.
About nine minutes into the second period, Pope got the ball from defender James Craig ’08, dribbled down the field, beat his defender and — one-on-one with the keeper — launched a line-drive shot into the back of the net for his first career goal.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Pope said. “I needed something to break the seal. There’s no excuse for not finishing inside the box. It’s just concentration and tonight we finally finished the job.”
The Elis took control of the game despite a second Blue Devil goal 13:17 into the period. Guzinski said the team began to play well once they started passing through midfielder Jordan Raybould ’10 and transitioning up the wings. The Bulldogs asucceeded most when they played on the ground and switched the field, he said.
Because of the bolstered Yale attack, the trailing Elis squared the score for a second time with a goal by forward Aden Farina-Henry ’11. He received the ball off a well-placed cross by defender Max Rhodes ’09 and immediately turned to knock a hard shot under the diving CCSU keeper for his first career goal.
The squads entered the first of two sudden-death overtimes at a 2-2 stalemate, but keeping with true Eli fashion, neither squad capitalized on eight shots in the 20 minutes of extended play. The Blue Devils, no stranger to tied games themselves, have now competed in four double overtime contests, though this was the first that resulted in a tie.
With last night’s match, Yale has notched 80 minutes of overtime play this season — almost an entire extra game of playing time.
“It is frustrating that we keep tying,” Guzinski said. “We just gotta keep our heads up and keep going and look ahead to our next game.”
But the match did showcase a burgeoning offense and classic Yale play through the midfield. The positives far outweigh the fact that a fourth Bulldog match ended with no result, players said.
“We played a pretty even game and the quality of play was there,” Geiger said. “We gave up two preventable goals, but we’ll try to focus on the positives to move forward to Penn.”