Taking a break from Ivy play in a weekday non-conference match, the Yale men’s soccer team took a tough loss to Connecticut on Tuesday by a score of 1–0.
Coming off a tie against Penn this past weekend, which broke a seven-game losing streak for the Bulldogs, the team hosted the Huskies (6–5–5, 2–3–2 American) in an attempt to improve on that performance with a win. But with a three-game win streak, UConn brought even more momentum into the match, and despite a late shot off the crossbar by midfielder Nicky Downs ’19, the Elis (1–11–1, 0–3–1 Ivy) were ultimately unable to score the goal they needed to level the game.
“We’re disappointed with the result, but pretty happy with our performance overall against a good UConn team,” midfielder Archie Kinnane ’18 said.
The first half ended scoreless, but those 45 minutes did show signs of UConn dominance, as the Bulldogs were outshot 7–1. The Huskies’ lone shot on net found the hands of goalkeeper Ryan Simpson ’17, who notched a save to keep the score null in the 15th minute.
Just six minutes into the second half, UConn midfielder Kwame Awuah scored the lone goal of the contest. Awuah, who is currently ranked 29th in the nation with six assists, also leads the Huskies in shots on goal.
Unable to rally after this early goal in the second period, Yale took home its 11th loss of the season.
“I thought the game was extremely close,” forward Avery Schwartz ’16 said. “We defended really well and created a few great chances that could have sent the game to overtime.”
UConn averages about 10.4 shots per game, which exceeds Yale’s 8.8 norm. The Huskies also entered the match with a clear advantage defensively, as before Tuesday they ranked 27th in the nation with a 0.80 goals against average.
Though Yale was able to tally three shots in the second half, just one, from Downs, was on goal. The match ended with Yale being outshot 16–4.
Downs led the team with two shots, followed by Kinnane and Schwartz, who each had one. Downs’ second attempt almost tied up the game with less than six minutes left in the second half.
“I would say the shot off the crossbar from Nicky Downs had to be the highlight for us,” forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 said. “He almost dipped it over the keeper’s head.”
This is the Bulldog’s fifth loss this season by only one goal.
In-state rivals Yale and UConn have played a total of 69 matches. After this season’s game, UConn has won seven straight to lead the annual series 38–27–4.
Amidst a struggling season, players now shift to refocus on the heart of their campaign: Ivy play.
“It’s tough losing another game, but we have continued to play well, and a couple of small mistakes is what separates us from winning consistently,” defender Pablo Espinola ’16 said.
Yale will resume its conference play at Columbia on Saturday at 7 p.m.