The men’s soccer team experienced the thrill of victory for the first time this season when the team bested Central Connecticut, 2-0, on Wednesday.
The match marked the Elis’ (1-1-2) first shutout of the season and was the first loss for the Blue Devils’ (3-1-0).
“There is no substitute for winning to gain confidence,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We thoroughly deserved to win [Wednesday] night. It was our most well-rounded performance of the season and hopefully, we can just pick up on that momentum.”
The Bulldogs earned their bragging rights by scoring two goals within the last 15 minutes of the second half.
“In the first half, there was a lot of back-and-forth,” goalkeeper Travis Chulick ’10 said. “In the second half, both teams settled down and were just trying to play some soccer. I imagine from the sidelines, it would probably have been a pretty exciting game to watch.”
With the pressure on both teams to score at the beginning of the second half, the Bulldogs and the Blue Devils increased their energy and intensity. Though CCSU outshot Yale 16-3, the Elis had more than three times as many corner kicks in 90 minutes.
Kevin Peterson ’13, who made his collegiate soccer debut on Wednesday night, scored Yale’s first goal in the 77th minute of play. Peterson was assisted by a well-placed kick across the box from midfielder Jon Carlos ’10.
“Jon saw Scott, but Scott couldn’t get to the ball,” captain and midfielder Jordan Raybould ’10 said, referring to Carlos and Scott Armburst ’13. “Then Kevin just got there and sent a great shot to the top shelf of the goal. It was a great finish.”
As predicted, Yale’s youngest members are already making a huge impact on the team. In addition to Peterson’s game-winning goal on Wednesday, earlier this season, Armburst scored the Elis’ only goal in their season opener against Quinnipiac. The Bulldog defense, which is largely comprised of members of the class of 2013, has also been steadily improving.
“Tony did a great job defensively against a very good striker,” Tompkins said, referring to Tony Wilbar ’13, who defended against CCSU’s Taylor Morgan. “[Morgan] is a unique challenge since he is very tall and also very fast. He didn’t get a lot of good looks on goal, and when he did, our defense forced him to take poor shots.”
The Bulldogs knew that Morgan was going to be a challenge going into the match. In addition to his height and speed, his ability to exploit gaps in the defense and make breakaways make him particularly dangerous.
“[Morgan]’s a handful,” Raybould said. “He can turn a game at any moment, so we kept an eye on him and were aware of him at all times.”
Tompkins added, “[CCSU] usually features foreign players, who come in with experience. With an in-state game, also, there is even more at stake — bragging rights and everything.”
Yale’s second goal came just three minutes before the final whistle, on a penalty kick. Forward Chris Dennen ’12 was tackled, just as he was about to make a pass on the left side of the 18-yard box. Defender Andy Hackbarth ’12 took the penalty kick for the Bulldogs, slipping the ball past CCSU’s goalkeeper.
“We were finally rewarded for our efforts,” Raybould said. “It was nice to have a full 90-minute game where we held the lead for more than 30 seconds — and even have another goal as a buffer.”
With a win added to their record, the Elis are hopeful about their chances going forward.
The Bulldogs take on St. Francis at home on Saturday at 7 p.m.