After 480 minutes without a goal, Yale (0–6–2, 0–0–0 Ivy) finally broke their scoring drought in a game against Fairleigh Dickinson (2–7–1, 0–0–0 Northeast Conference). Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, netting the ball triumphantly did not pay the dividends they hoped for as Yale fell 3–1 to FDU in their final match before the start of Ivy League play.
Thirteen minutes into the game, FDU’s Enver Caymaz rushed toward the Yale box and fired the Knights ahead, demonstrating to Yale that the Elis needed to score quickly and often to come away with a win. After nearly 30 minutes of solid defense, it looked as though Yale would be able to head into the locker room trailing 1–0 with a chance at equalizing in the second half. However, Leo Saiti dashed the Bulldogs’ dreams with a well-worked goal that put the victory out of Yale’s reach before the second half whistle even sounded. Down 2–0 after the first 45, a comeback was simply too much to ask of a team that had scored just twice all season.
Despite the odds, Yale played an admirable second half. Mitch Wagner ’16 scored Yale’s first goal in five games, providing the Elis with a bright spot and something to build on going into the Ivy season. Despite shooting well in previous matches, FDU dominated Yale offensively, who lost the shooting battle 20–9 and proved unable to counter the Knight’s high-octane offense. For the third straight time, the Elis fell.
“The FDU game was a difficult one for us. We had a hard time playing at our normal tempo and were not at our sharpest,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We made too many mistakes in our possession play against a team that found ways to capitalize on our errors.”
Yale is set to face Harvard (5–3, 0–0–0 Ivy) in their next match and first Ivy contest. Containing the Crimson’s offensive onslaught will surely prove a challenge, since Harvard has scored at a remarkable clip of 2.2 goals per game, formidable for any team. The winners of five straight games, Harvard will look to add to their undefeated home record and topple the Bulldogs in their Ivy opener.
“The game with Harvard is always a battle, and we’re looking to get the Ivy League season started on a good note by getting a win,” Keith Bond ’16 said.
Tompkins also noted his hopes for Yale. The 19-year head coach said that Ivy play brings out the best in players and that the Elis were looking to get back on track against Harvard. Given Harvard’s generous 1.66 goals against per game defensive average, Yale very well could get off to a scoring start against the Crimson. Unfortunately for the Elis, shutting down Harvard’s offense will prove especially difficult given Harvard’s balanced scoring. Remarkably, the Crimson have had 10 different goal scorers in their eight games, reflecting an offensive machine that is more than capable of producing goals when a key forward is heavily marked. Ultimately, Harvard will enter the game as favorites, especially given the momentum of their five-game win streak placed in opposition to Yale’s winless record.
“We love being perceived as the underdogs in this year’s matchup,” Pablo Espinola ’16 said. “We are all looking forward to getting at Harvard and settling all of this years setbacks on the field, under the lights in Cambridge.”