Despite winning its first game of the season on Sept. 19 against Quinnipiac, the men’s soccer team is still struggling to find its form just as it gears up for Ivy League play.
The Bulldogs (1–5–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) suffered a tough 2–1 loss to Iona (4–3–1, 0–0–0 Metro Atlantic) on the road Wednesday. Back-to-back goals in the second half proved to be the team’s undoing. And while the Bulldogs managed to respond with a goal late in the game, it was too little, too late.
After the loss, though, the Elis are looking for redemption. Tomorrow, they will face off against Rhode Island (4–4–0, 0–0–0 Atlantic 10) at home in Reese Stadium. To win, several players interviewed said, the Bulldogs will need to play the full game without any lapses in focus or effort.
“We have played tough opponents and been able to execute our style of soccer,” goalkeeper Ryan Simpson ’17 said. “Now all we need to do is have a full 90-minute performance from start to finish.”
On Wednesday, the Eli defense managed to hold strong for 45 minutes, keeping the game scoreless in the first half. But that effort was not without difficulty — the Gaels outshot Yale 6–0 in the first half of the match.
But after the intermission, the wheels came off. Aristotle Sederlis scored two goals in quick succession in the 59th and 61st minutes.
“It was a long throw-in that was flicked on by Cameron Riach [’19], and Avery [Schwartz ’16] had a scissor kick to put it away,” forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 said. “He came in the game with a ton of energy and when he scored, it shifted the entire momentum of the game.”
Yale was eventually able to respond with a 76th-minute goal by forward Schwartz to put the Bulldogs back into a winning position. Although Schwartz has started in every game this season for the Bulldogs, the goal on Wednesday was his first of the year — and of his career.
Defenders Ollie Iselin ’18 and Cameron Riach ’19 both had shots in the last 10 minutes of the match, but their attempts could not get the win for the Elis. When asked what could have made the difference for Yale, players interviewed said they ought to have done a better job answering the Iona goals.
“It’s frustrating because its has been something that the coaching staff has emphasized and something that we need to improve on before our next game,” midfielder Pablo Espinola ’16 said.
Still, the Elis can take solace in a strong effort from their goalkeeper, Kees Schipper ’19. Schipper made his second career start and had six saves to hold Iona to only two goals.
In its last non-conference game, Yale will be at home this Saturday, taking on Rhode Island at Reese Stadium. According to Espinola, the Bulldogs are preparing for the match just like any other, seeing this as a chance to redeem themselves.
Rhode Island is coming off a loss from Wednesday’s game against St. Francis Brooklyn.
As the Bulldogs enter the weekend, players said they feel as though their first six games have prepared them for the upcoming Ivy games.
“I think that the non-conference games have allowed us to experiment with different lineups, while also helping to gain confidence and poise,” said midfielder Theo Miller ’18. “The team is absolutely headed in the right direction, and we can’t wait until the Ivy League games begin.”
Yale will host Rhode Island this Saturday at Reese Stadium at 7 p.m.