After a thrilling victory against Cornell and a disappointing loss to No. 10 UConn, the Yale men’s soccer team heads to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on Ivy foe Penn in the Elis’ first conference road game of the season.
A win on Saturday for the Bulldogs (4-6-3, 1-2 Ivy) would provide much-needed revenge to compensate for the team’s 2-1 loss last year against the Quakers (4-6-3, 0-2-1) at Reese Stadium.
Yale’s and Penn’s places in the bottom half of conference standings ensure that both teams are anxious for an Ivy League victory at this stage of the season.
The Elis have the statistical advantage going into the match. While both the Bulldogs and the Quakers lost to Dartmouth, Yale brought the Big Green into double overtime and lost 2-1, while Dartmouth soundly defeated Penn 3-1. The Quakers fell behind in the second half despite being tied 1-1 with the Big Green after the first half of play, and struggled throughout to break Dartmouth’s defense, as exhibited by the Quakers’ three shots on target compared to the Big Green’s eight.
More importantly, while Yale beat Cornell in a stunning 4-3 victory, Penn only managed to tie the Big Red 2-2 in double overtime.
But head coach Brian Tompkins insists that statistics can be deceiving.
“Penn is a better team than their record would indicate,” Tompkins said. “Even though they haven’t won a game yet, we know we’re in for difficult game.”
The Bulldogs will aim to use their fast and responsive defensive line to shut down Penn on its home turf.
“They’re a very good attacking team,” Tompkins added. “They’re also a very well-coached team, so I think we’ll need to be sharp both offensively and defensively. If we’re not at our best, they’re the kind of team who could take advantage of us.”
Despite their loss on Tuesday, the Elis exhibited fierce play against UConn.
“We played well against Connecticut and it’s important for us to get a win [against Penn] to keep that momentum going,” Tompkins said.