The men’s soccer team left this weekend’s tournament in Providence, R.I., frustrated.
On Friday, the Bulldogs tied Adelphi, 1-1, after the match was called early due to inclement weather. The next day, Southern Methodist bested Yale, 3-2, with a goal scored in the final minutes of the game.
“We’re learning more and more and making progress,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “Unfortunately, we’re learning lessons the hard way.”
Against Adelphi (1-1-2), the Elis (0-1-2) increased their intensity in the second half. Forward Brad Rose ’11 scored Yale’s only goal after an hour of play, which gave the Bulldogs renewed energy. Shortly before the game was stopped, Yale made four attempts on goal.
“We scored an excellent goal to tie it,” Tompkins said. “The momentum was with us, and we really felt that we were on our way to getting a second goal — then the weather intervened.”
NCAA rules prohibit players from being on the field for at least a half hour after lightning storms. If after 90 minutes, play is not able to resume, the game is called.
“It was going really well and we had picked up the momentum,” forward Charlie Neil ’12 said. “We were really disappointed since we felt like we were going to win it, that the game was ours.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Bulldogs faced SMU (1-2), which has made it to the NCAA College Cup all but twice in the last 25 years. The Bulldogs dragged their feet in the first half, allowing the Mustangs to a 1-0 lead.
“We came out flat,” forward Andy Shorten ’11 said. “It didn’t even seem like we wanted to play. But, in the second half, we played more aggressively — it was like we were a completely different team.”
After a little over an hour of play, the Elis were down, 2-0. But, they rallied, with back-to-back goals by Neil and Shorten late in the second half.
“I just knew we had to get back in the game,” Shorten said. “So I did what I could to help us get back in it.”
Captain and midfielder Jordan Raybould ’10 added, “Most teams that are down 2-0 just give up. No one on our team had that attitude.”
In a replay of their match with Quinnipiac, SMU’s Joe Cooper slipped a heartbreaking shot past goalkeeper Travis Chulick ’10 just seconds after Shorten’s game-tying goal.
“The most vulnerable time in a game is right after a goal is scored,” Tompkins said. “The goals we’ve let through so far come more from a lapse in concentration — it’s more youth than anything else. We’re still learning those important lessons, and we’re learning them the hard way.”
The Elis are making progress, even if it is not necessarily reflected in their record just yet.
“So far, we have definitely relied on the need to respond to the other team’s play,” Tompkins said. “We need to work to become the team that initiates the momentum rather than responds to it, and that comes with experience.”
Raybould added, “We’re looking to turn it around, and the next game is always a good opportunity to do that.”
The Bulldogs will try to turn it around when they take on Central Connecticut State at Willow Brook Park on Wednesday at 4 p.m.