In its last non-conference game of the season, the men’s soccer team fought for a double overtime draw at Sacred Heart.
Wednesday night, the men’s soccer team played its first of a series of three consecutive road games. Looking to rebound after last Saturday’s tough 2-0 home loss to Cornell, the Bulldogs took on the Sacred Heart Pioneers. But after 110 minutes both teams finished at 1-1, Yale’s second draw of the season.
“We score a lot of goals, and we’ve won a bunch of games,” said captain Chris Dennen ’12. “At this point of the season we’re frustrated with a tie.”
Both teams fared equally against the same competition leading up to the game. In September, Yale left Fairleigh Dickinson with a 1-1 tie. Ten days ago Sacred Heart also played the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights to 1-1 after double overtime. This is the third game this season the Elis have played into double overtime. During the second double overtime game, the University of Connecticut scored in the final minute to beat Yale 1-0.
When the team arrived in Fairfield, conditions did not look promising.
Yale was coming off its toughest loss of the season and hadn’t played on the road for over three weeks. The team’s first road game in a month at Campus Field Stadium was played on a football field, which head coach Brian Tompkins said was approximately 10 yards narrower than the turf the Elis play on at Reese Stadium. Moreover, it was raining and after sundown.
“That’s part of the experience of being able to play in different conditions against different types of teams, and I thought they did very well,” Tompkins said. “[Sacred Heart was] a very motivated opponent.”
Despite adverse conditions, the team pulled together to launch nine shots on goal and maintain possession for the majority of the match.
The Bulldogs, however, were still trying to shake off the offensive misfires of the Cornell game.
Pioneer goalkeeper Alex Fait did his best to stop them, making eight saves, including a blocked penalty kick from forward Brad Rose ’12 in the 58th minute. Fait has not made more saves in a single game this season; against Columbia he also made eight saves, but the team lost 2-1.
“Their keeper was the difference in the game today,” Tompkins said. “He’s a big factor in their defensive play; we tested him a number of different ways.”
Thalman made six saves during the game and also blocked a penalty kick from Omer Levy 20 minutes into the first half. Levy, however, would find space in the box early in the second half and score off a shot to the far corner of the net.
Dennen said the team controlled possession for both the Fairfield and Cornell games but was not able to find good opportunities in the box.
“The chemistry’s still there … no one’s discouraged,” Dennen said. “We’re a high-powered offense, and we know we can score.”
Shortly after 30 minutes into the match, Jenner Fox ’14 lofted the ball to Peter Jacobson ’14 for a header, and Jacobson scored his fifth goal of the season.
Goalkeeper Bobby Thalman ’13 said he was proud of the team for breaking their normal game pattern and performing on the road in the middle of the week.
“On the road and in bad conditions you have to be on your toes,” Thalman said. “But those things don’t really get to this team.”
Dennen agreed that the environment was very different from what the Bulldogs had grown accustomed to in the last month.
“We’ve done a good job adjusting on the road,” Dennen said. “We’re going to have to be a good road team coming down the stretch.”
Yale (2-1 Ivy) continues its away series at Penn (1-2 Ivy) this Saturday. All four of the Elis’ remaining games are Ivy League contests. They finished their non-conference schedule with four wins, four losses and two ties.