It took almost 17.5 hours of playing time this season, but the men’s soccer team got its first win of the year in thrilling fashion, beating Temple 1–0 after a penalty kick in the 108th minute of the Tuesday night contest. The Bulldogs (1–8–2, 0–2–0 Ivy) faced the Owls (2–9–2, 1–2–1 American Athletic Conference) for the first time in program history in their second-to-last non-conference game of the year.
“This win is a huge morale boost for the guys and exactly what we needed before going to Ithaca this weekend,” goaltender Blake Brown ’15 said. “This win means that the pieces of the puzzle are finally falling together. We have stuck to the plan and it’s great to see it reflect in the result. The win definitely took a lot of weight off our shoulders. We got a taste of what it feels like to win tonight and are eager to have more of it.”
The Bulldogs dominated the first half, streaming forward in numbers and creating chances throughout the 45 minutes. Midfielders Ollie Iselin ’18 and Conner Lachenbruch ’15 controlled the midfield throughout the night, giving Yale the lion’s share of possession. Midfielder Peter Ambiel ’15 and striker Avery Schwartz ’16 looked lively as well.
In the sixth minute, Ambiel played a through ball from the center to find Schwartz streaking into the box, but the striker’s shot did not have enough power to beat the keeper from a tight angle. Schwartz created two more chances for himself in the opening period, but neither found the back of the net.
Yale’s best chance of the half fell to midfielder Pablo Espinola ’16, who managed to head a long free kick toward goal — but right to Temple goalie Dan Scheck, who posted four saves on six shots in the first 45 minutes.
“I think we had a great first half,” Schwartz said. “We worked well tactically together as a unit and that allowed us to control the game.”
In the second half, the Elis picked up where they left off with sustained pressure on the Owls, who spent most of the half defending against Yale in their own half. Despite a faster overall tempo, chances remained scarce for both teams.
The match came to life in the 76th minute when Schwartz crossed the ball into the box. Freshman forward Teddy Mauze ’18 towered over his defender to launch a header towards net, but the ball fortuitously bounced off Scheck, who then pounced on the ball to avoid further danger for Temple.
However, the Owls responded quickly through midfielder Dan White, who launched a powerful header that beat the stranded Brown in net but hit the crossbar and stayed out.
Despite the brief lapse, the Elis remained composed and produced a great spell of play in the 85th minute, resulting in a number of chances for Yale. The best came from Iselin, who sent the ball just over the bar on a looping attempt from outside the box.
The London native’s effort would be the last clear-cut chance of regulation, with the whistle blowing at 90 minutes with the two teams still locked in a scoreless tie.
The first half of overtime was more of the same, with Yale dominating possession through Lachenbruch and the other midfielders.
“I think everyone came into the game today with a positive mind-set that if we played up to our potential, we could really control the game,” striker Keith Bond ’16 said. “We were able to gain the lion’s share of possession thanks to some really strong play from our midfielders.”
Defender Tyler Detorie ’16 almost had the play of the game with just four seconds left in the first overtime. Striker Cameron Kirdzik ’17 found Detorie with some nifty play before Detorie showed off fancy footwork to beat his defender. But, from a tight angle and under intense pressure from the goalkeeper, he put his shot off the post and out.
Though Yale had been defending resolutely and keeping the Owls at bay throughout the game, Temple fared better in the second overtime. The Owls’ pressure almost paid off through a shot that deflected off Elis defender Phillip Piper ’17 and wrong-footed Brown in net. The ball trickled towards goal and just stayed out of the net, hitting the post before being cleared by the Bulldogs.
Brown, who had a quiet day in net with just a single save, came up with a crucial stop with two minutes left after Jared Martinelli found himself in acres of space. The Yale keeper managed to get big after coming off his line, stuffing the Temple striker and denying the game-winner.
Playing off of Brown’s save, Yale streamed upfield on a counterattack. Kirdzik cut inside off the left flank and played a ball in the box towards Albrecht. Under pressure, the Temple defender pulled down the sophomore inside the box. The referee did not hesitate in pointing to the spot, awarding the Bulldog a penalty kick opportunity with just 1:33 remaining in the game.
Lachenbruch stepped up and calmly dispatched the kick into the right side, netting for Yale’s first win of the season and sending the team into frenzied celebrations.
“We always knew that if we stuck to the way we have been playing the goals would come,” Schwartz said. “We are excited that we got the win today, but we are keeping the game on Saturday in mind. The league games are what it’s all about, and we want to bring this momentum to Cornell this weekend.”
The Bulldogs head north to take on Cornell in their third Ivy League matchup of the season this Saturday at 4 p.m.