After four losses, the Yale men’s soccer team notched its first win of the season this weekend in a 3–2 victory over Quinnipiac.
Both teams came into the season having lost their last four games this season. In fact, the Bulldogs — who endured one of the toughest seasons in recent memory last year — had not won a game in their last 10 attempts. Their record now stands at 1–4–0.
The Bulldogs got off to a strong start, scoring twice in the first half — with both goals coming within five minutes of each other. Ollie Iselin ’18 hit the net first by capitalizing on an error by the Quinnipiac (0–5–1, 0–0–0 Metro Atlantic) goalkeeper, Tristan Henry, who ran out of his box. Coming off of a long pass from Tyler Detorie ’16, Iselin lobbed the ball over Henry, and it bounced into the net before a Quinnipiac defender could clear the ball.
Shortly thereafter, Josh Totte ’18 doubled the lead with a strong, curling strike that hit the right post before deflecting into the goal, just out of Henry’s reach.
The Bulldogs’ defense also put in a good first-half performance, limiting the Bobcat offense to just four shots, none of which were on target. Yale went into halftime with a 2–0 lead, but knew maintaining that margin would be a difficult task.
“A 2–0 lead is a notoriously hard lead to keep,” said Dylan Onderdonk-Snow ’17, a midfielder. “It was pretty hard in general to replicate the first half, especially because [Quinnipiac] came out a lot tougher and harder in the second half.”
The second frame was particularly challenging for goalkeeper Kees Schipper ’19, who was awarded his first start in Saturday’s match. Before the game, goalie coach Drew Nucifora told Schipper that the first 20 minutes would likely be some of the toughest moments of soccer he would ever play.
Nucifora was right — the momentum shifted in the second half and Schipper was tested almost continuously by the Quinnipiac attack, which fired off 12 shots. Despite making three crucial saves, Schipper was unable to stop Quinnipiac defender Tobias Esche from slotting in a penalty kick in the 70th minute — Esche struck the ball to the right, while Schipper dived to the left.
Yale reclaimed its two-goal lead six minutes later off of a corner kick from Archie Kinnane ’18. Onderdonk-Snow, one of four players to have started all games this season thus far, struck the cross into the net.
“I didn’t think it was going to be the game-winner because I thought we were pretty comfortably up,” Onderdonk-Snow said. “It would have felt different if we had been tied 2–2, but it still felt amazing.”
For the remainder of the game, Yale continued with its settled defensive approach and recorded no shots. But, just when it seemed that the Bulldogs had the match under control, Quinnipiac was able to put one past them with less than 25 seconds remaining on the game clock.
“We should never be giving up a goal when there’s 30 seconds left on the clock,” Schipper criticized. “It’s a bad goal to give up and it should have been a game that we won 3–1 or 3–0.”
Still, despite this mistake, things are looking up for the Bulldogs. In one game, they managed to more than double the goal tally from the previous four matches by finally converting shots on goal into points.
“We got three great goals from Ollie, Josh and Dylan, and I think our execution in the final third was really what made the difference,” Kinnane said. “We’ve been getting good chances before but just haven’t been getting them in the back of the net. Those three guys did a great job of doing that this game.”
With this improvement comes a natural lift in the mood in the locker room.
Onderdonk-Snow said there was a palpable shift in the players’ disposition immediately after the game. According to Onderdonk-Snow, players felt relieved and happy.
The Bulldogs will next face off against Iona in an away game on Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.