The Yale men’s soccer team traveled an hour north to play Central Connecticut State on Tuesday night only to see its loss count for the season swell to 13.
Despite outshooting the Blue Devils (5–9–2, 2–4–0 Northeast) and enjoying one of their most active offensive performances of the season, the Bulldogs (1–13–1, 0–4–1 Ivy) were unable to convert their chances in the tight 1–0 loss, allowing CCSU to send off its seniors in style on Senior Night.
“This is one of the more devastating losses I’ve been involved with, ever,” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “We completely dominated from start to finish and could have been up three-nothing in the first 15 minutes just by finishing some opportunities better.”
Though the team did not score, the first half was nonetheless one of Yale’s most attack-oriented 45 minutes of the season.
Shooting seven times, a season high for a half, the Yale offense established its presence early, something the team struggled to do throughout much of October. The team’s first-half shot count demonstrated a vast improvement over the past six games. In those six contests that date back to Oct. 6, the Bulldogs averaged just under two shots in the first half.
Despite the statistical uptick, however, Yale was unable to find the back of the net before halftime.
“We came out with a very aggressive mentality, pressing them really hard and we had good success with that strategy and put them under a lot of pressure during the first 20 minutes of the game and created a bunch of chances for ourselves,” midfielder Lucas Kirby ’19 said. “Unfortunately, the ball, per usual, seemed to not bounce our way in the box.”
The defense was also effective in the first half, limiting the Blue Devils to just three shots and keeping the Blue Devils’ leading scorer Ryan Taylor at bay. Taylor, a sophomore forward, averages one point per game thanks to six goals and three assists on the season, but he was unable to record a shot against the Bulldogs in either half.
The second half proved to be more balanced, as momentum shifted back and forth between the two sides. The Blue Devil attack came out much stronger following the halftime break, taking six shots to Yale’s seven. While Yale did ultimately outshoot CCSU 14–9, each team managed just three shots on goal.
Yale’s best chance to get on the scoreboard came four minutes into the second half. Forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 headed the ball off a cross but Blue Devil goalkeeper Ben LaVallee make a diving save to prevent the Bulldogs from pulling ahead. With five shots against the Blue Devils, Kenagy upped his season total to 27, tied with Ollie Iselin ’18 for the most on the roster.
Although Yale had more chances than its opponent, it was CCSU who broke the deadlock with less than 10 minutes left to go in the game. Freshman forward Louis Beddouri notched his fourth goal of the season when deft passing play between senior defender Ben Knight and junior forward EJ Okoro brought the ball into the box. Beddouri, who came to CCSU by way of the Aviron Bayonnais Football Club in Bayonne, France, eluded his marker to manage a low shot that found the left corner of the net.
The team has not won its past 10 games, but the way players controlled possession made this loss an especially tough one to swallow for the Elis.
“We had a ton of chances and couldn’t put them away, and in the end, that’s what hurt us,” midfielder Nicky Downs ’19 said.
With two games remaining on the Yale schedule, the Bulldogs return to action on Saturday night for their final home game of the year. The match against Brown kicks off at 7 p.m.