On the heels of two great results, the Yale men’s soccer team faltered in its third game of the season, falling to crosstown rival Quinnipiac 2–0 on the road Wednesday afternoon.
The Bulldogs were bested, in large part, by the play of Bobcat freshman forward Eamon Whelan, who scored the second and third goals of his young career in the clash.
The two-goal loss comes as somewhat of a surprise for the Elis (1–1–1, 0–0 Ivy) , who were entering the game having tied Big Ten opponent Michigan in the season opener and having comfortably beaten Sacred Heart 2–0 in their second match. Moreover, Yale’s sole win a season ago came against the Bobcats (3–3–0, 0–0 MAAC), and the team’s expectation of a repeat may have contributed to its slow start.
“We didn’t start the game with the energy we wanted, especially being away from home,” midfielder An Le ’19 said. “Then going down 1–0 late in the first half made things difficult but the team responded well after halftime. We definitely had our share of opportunities but we just didn’t put them away. It was a tough 2–0 loss but we’ll refocus ourselves and prepare for this Saturday’s home game against Lafayette.”
Quinnipiac applied pressure immediately after the game’s opening tap. Within the first 14 minutes, the Bobcats took four corner kicks. That offensive intensity eventually yielded a result in the 28th minute when Whelan headed home the game’s first goal.
The play for the rest of the half was divided equally between the teams, who entered their respective locker rooms with the scoreline still 1–0.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Quinnipiac took one shot and Yale earned one corner kick, but the team’s offenses remained silent otherwise. But in the 71st minute, Whelan connected once again, striking the ball off the left post and in.
The Bulldogs were unable to mount a comeback effort; from that second goal on, the Elis could only muster two shots.
Forward Nicky Downs ’19, who tied for the team lead in points last season as a freshman, pointed to himself as a reason for the flat showing.
“We struggled to find the energy and be totally locked in for the game,” Downs said. “We seemed to run out of ideas in the attack and weren’t able to generate quality chances — a lot of that is on me. My set-piece serve wasn’t consistent enough today.”
The Yale offense was held scoreless for the first time this season, after a pair of positive two-goal showings to open the year. Yale took just seven shots on Wednesday, four fewer than its season average.
Defensively, the game marked a slight step back after putting together a shutout against Sacred Heart over the weekend. Somewhat counterintuitively, the team allowed its fewest amount of shots this season in the loss. In the tie against Michigan, the Wolverines took 19 shots and in the win against Sacred Heart, the Pioneers attempted 12 shots. In this loss, the Bobcats sent 10 toward Bulldog goalkeeper Kees Schipper ’19, with three of those shots on target.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to today,” said forward Kyle Kenagy ’19, who took a team-high two shots on goal. “But our game plan is to just learn what we can from this game, and try to turn things around for Lafayette this Saturday.”
The Elis have only played Lafayette three times since 1906, and they have beaten the Leopards on all three occasions.
The first tap will be at 7 p.m. Saturday night in Reese Stadium.