After a short three-game period of improved form, the Yale Bulldogs (1–10–4, 0–3–1 Ivy) fell victim to yet another 1–0 loss against the University of Connecticut Huskies (8–6–2, 5–1–1 AAC) in their final non-conference match of the season.
Returning to what has plagued them all year, the Elis failed to produce offensively, despite strong defensive pressure holding the Huskies off for 103 minutes of a hotly contested double overtime match.
The Huskies, in spite of an impressive record in the American Athletic Conference, have actually struggled in their non-conference matchups, playing sub .500 soccer and failing to live up to their gaudy AAC stats. Yale provided them with just their third non-conference victory — though it did not come easily. Against a talented Eli defense that has performed admirably all season, UConn launched a barrage of shots, firing eight in the first half and another 12 in the second, compared to a paltry Yale offensive showing that produced just five.
However, for most of the game, the Bulldogs played bend-not-break defense, allowing shots but forcing the opponents to take low percentage opportunities. In fact, in spite of the Huskies’ 23 shots, gatekeeper Blake Brown ’15 was forced to make just five saves in 110 total minutes of play.
“I’m really proud of the team — we held our own against a very good Uconn team and were unlucky to lose in the last minutes of overtime,” said Henry Flugstad-Clarke ’17. “The team played really well, and Blake Brown had a great game again.”
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Yale’s defense could only hold up for so long under the pressure of a Husky offensive onslaught. Although Yale desperately needed an offensive push, the Bulldogs were able to produce only one shot on target during the game and were held shot-less in both overtime periods. Ultimately, the Elis failed to produce in the clutch, unable to find any offensive groove in a game that would have been a massive upset had the Elis won.
“I would say that starting in the second half of the game, [the Huskies] had more possession of the ball as fatigue started to set in with our players,” midfielder Conner Lachenbruch ’15 said.
For most of the night, UConn forward Ethan Vanacoredecker tormented Yale’s defense, leading the match with eight shots of his own and four on target. His statistical offensive production single-handedly out-paced Yale’s as a team. However, it was Marco Beso Adria who proved UConn’s game-winning hero.
In the 103rd minute, Adria launched a shot from the top right corner of the box, for his third goal of the season and giving the Huskies the lead with just seven minutes left to play. In spite of Brown’s heroic goalkeeping against Vanacore-Decker and seeing 22 of the 23 total shots sail away, the Yale defense finally broke down after an impressive 103-minute stand.
“I thought overall we did a solid job of negating their attacks and just got unfortunate to let in a goal,” said Keith Bond ’16. “UConn has some really skilled players, so we knew coming in we were going to have to contain them and play a tactically disciplined game. We were very patient on defense.”
Ultimately, a lack of offense proved Yale’s undoing once more. The Elis have scored just six goals in 14 games, with zero repeat goal scorers, and have been unable to find a consistent rhythm.
Yale takes on Columbia Saturday, Nov. 1, at Reese Stadium.