After a disappointing home loss to Iona last Tuesday, the Yale men’s soccer team (0–3–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) looked to right the ship during its weekend road trip. But instead of returning with two victories in tow, the team emerged winless, dropping both games 1–0 and capping a disappointing three game stretch for the Elis.
The Elis began their weekend getaway by facing Fairfield (2–1–1, 0–0–0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) on Friday night, then continued on to face the University of Rhode Island (2–3–1, 0–0–0 Atlantic 10). In the match against Fairfield, the Elis ran into familiar woes, proving unable to produce a goal despite myriad opportunities to score. The Bulldogs led the shooting battle with 10 shots to Fairfield’s nine and managed more shots on frame than their opponents. Despite this, the Elis simply couldn’t finish and went into the locker room deadlocked at 0–0 after the game’s first half. In the second 45, the match unraveled for Yale, as Fairfield produced an early winner in the 51st minute, forcing Yale to push for an equalizer that never came.
“Friday’s game was a terrific battle and both teams threw everything they had into it,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “I thought our guys played some of their best soccer of the season against an experienced physical team. Unfortunately we had a couple of missed chances and there was a terrific point-blank save from the Fairfield goalkeeper, and we felt very unfortunate to come out of the game with a loss.”
Despite out-shooting the Stags 7–2 in the second half and winning four corner kicks, Yale couldn’t force the ball into the net. This marked the second time in two years that Yale dropped a game against Fairfield despite winning both the shooting and corner kick battle, as finishing woes once again proved the Bulldogs’ demise.
The Rhode Island match proved a similar prospect for the Bulldogs as they dropped a second straight match 1–0. Though statistically the match was rather even, with Yale producing 11 shots to Rhode Island’s 12 and both keepers making six saves, the home squad came away with the win.
“We couldn’t find any sort of consistency until the second half [against Rhode Island], which is both unacceptable and disappointing considering this was a team we should have put away,” forward Cameron Kirdzik ’17 said in an email. “Perhaps [the] game on Friday made us a little lethargic tonight, but it’s still not an excuse.”
Kirdzik added, however, that the team is confident and believes it has the potential to turn its losing streak around going forward.
Rhode Island took the lead early into the match when Adam Camillo picked out Matt Sykes with a well-weighted pass through the box, which was coolly finished by the latter. Despite forcing Rhode Island’s Nils Leifhelm into six saves, the Bulldog’s could not come up with an equalizer. Poor finishing plagued Yale once more and proved the unfortunate companion to another second-half surge by the Elis. Yale led Rhode Island 6–5 in second-half shooting and 3–2 in second-half corner kicks, meaning that they produced plenty of scoring opportunities with nothing to show for them. Furthermore, Matt Sykes hounded the Elis, leading the game with three shots, all of which were on frame, and scoring the contest’s only goal. Ultimately, Sykes’s man-of-the-match performance proved the difference in Sunday’s contest, as he led the Rams to their second win of the season.
Yale next takes the pitch against Manhattan (1–2–0, 0–0–0 MAAC) when the Elis and Jaspers face off at Reese Stadium on Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m.