The last time the Bulldogs won just a single game in a season was in 1922.
With just one shot left at an Ivy League win, the Bulldogs are set to take on Princeton this weekend in head coach Brian Tompkins’s last match at the helm of Yale soccer.
The Tigers (10–3–3, 4–1–1 Ivy) sit at first place in the Ivy League with 13 points in six games, while the Elis (1–12–3, 0–5–1) are currently at the bottom of the table with just a single point in the same number of contests. Yale versus Princeton will be a David versus Goliath contest, as the Tigers look to wrap up their Ivy League championship with ease at Reese Stadium.
The Bulldogs will seek to send Tompkins out on a high note by securing their first Ivy League win in his final game as head coach.
“We want to win for our coach and our seniors,” midfielder Pablo Espinola ’16 said.
However, Princeton will also have strong motivation to go for the win. The Tigers — who are tied in points with Dartmouth and lead the Ivy League in goal differential — must defeat Yale in order to ensure that they take home the Ancient Eight crown.
Unfortunately for Yale, the Tigers are favored by a multiple-goal margin, given their position at the Ivy table. Though this matchup of first versus worst looks like “trap game” on paper, it is far from meaningless to Princeton, which will look to put on its best showing in New Haven.
Princeton is riding a hot streak as a team. The Tigers have won four straight matches and are unbeaten in their last eight. Yale, conversely, has lost three straight games and will likely require the best performance of its season if it hopes to knock Princeton off of its perch.
To do that, Yale will have to shut down the prolific Princeton striker Cameron Porter, who has individually put up twice as many goals as the Bulldogs have as a team this season. Porter has netted 14 goals, while teammate Thomas Sanner has knocked home eight goals. Yale, meanwhile, has scored a mere seven times.
Porter is on a tear as of late, having earned Ivy Player of the Week Honors twice in the past three weeks.
“We’re having a really competitive week of practice and are just trying to get mentally prepared as well,” forward Keith Bond ’16 said. “Princeton has a chance to win the Ivy League title on our home field, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
As a squad inspired by the retirement of their longtime head coach, who is certainly playing for pride in his last game, the Elis have nothing to lose against Princeton, a dangerous prospect for any team needing a win to secure a championship. While the Yale attack has had trouble finding the net this season, the Bulldogs have a formidable defense that the Tigers must respect. Goalkeeper Blake Brown ’16 has the third highest save percentage in the Ivy League, meaning that the Elis cannot be written off against the Tigers.
As usual, however, the Elis will need to bring something special in order to compete against this heavily favored and offensively dynamic squad.
“It’s the last game of the season and our Senior Night, so we’re looking to end on the right note with a good win over a good Princeton team,” defender Henry Flugstad-Clarke ’17 said.
Yale will take on Princeton on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. in Reese Stadium.