After falling 2–0 in a midweek loss to Big Ten goliath No. 20 Michigan State on Wednesday, the Yale men’s soccer team returned to New Haven looking to build a modest conference win streak against Penn on Saturday.
A week removed from their first Ivy League victory in over two years — a 3–0 win over bottom-of-the-league Cornell — the Elis (2–7–2, 1–2–1 Ivy) failed to capitalize on any momentum and fell 3–0 to an overpowering Quaker (4–5–2, 2–2–0) team. Despite a strong start, the Bulldogs started out eventually succumbed to Penn’s offensive efficiency in the lopsided loss.
“We created enough chances to score goals, but ultimately you have to put balls in the back of the net,” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “We didn’t make plays tonight … I’m always proud of these guys when it comes to how they fight but we weren’t sharp and I thought Penn was better.”
Yale attacked immediately after the initial whistle. The Elis earned their first corner kick in the second minute of the game, on which midfielder Nicky Downs ’19 sent a curling cross into the heart of the box to a soaring Kyle Kenagy ’19. The forward headed the ball past the goalie, but his shot was too high, smashing off the crossbar and away from the net. Just over two minutes later, the tide shifted as Penn midfielder Dami Omitaomu slotted home an easy finish off a pass from defenseman Eremuse Momoh.
This marked the second time this season that Yale has conceded a goal within the first six minutes of a match. Against Lafayette on Sept. 17, the Elis found themselves at a one-goal disadvantage only 3:07 in and went on to lose 2–0.
“It was tough giving up a goal early [against Penn], one we thought we should have prevented,” midfielder Lucas Kirby ’19 said.
Yale earned three more corner kicks in the five minutes succeeding the opening goal. Downs connected with Kenagy once again on the Elis’ third corner of the day, but his header was blocked before it reached the goal. Penn forbid the Bulldogs from getting their heads on either of the other two corners.
The Bulldogs’ offense sputtered thereafter, seldom threatening at a goal in the remaining 35 minutes of the first half. Yale allowed Penn a second goal in the 30th minute, when Quakers midfielder Gideon Metrikin struck off of a laser from distance.
The score remained 2–0 as both teams entered their locker rooms at the half.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Penn scored its third unanswered goal to all but eliminate Yale’s chances for a comeback. While the Elis held the Quakers to just one shot from that point on, Yale only mustered two shots of its own in the remaining 25 minutes.
The Quakers were far more efficient with their chances, as every shot they took was on-target. While the Elis took 11 shots, five more than their opponents, only four of those found their way on-target compared to Penn’s six.
“Throughout the game we had the most chances,” defenseman Justin Lobe ’20 said. “We could have converted quite a few and it just came down to focusing in our final third and their final third. The few chances they got they could convert, and the few chances we got we couldn’t convert.”
Despite this loss, the Elis still remain ahead of Princeton and Cornell in the Ivy League standings. The Tigers, currently mired in a 0–3–1 record, will be Yale’s last challenge of the season. A final sixth place standing in the Ancient Eight would be the Bulldogs’ highest since 2013, its last multi-win conference season.
Yale will play its penultimate nonconference match on Tuesday against Hartford before returning home to face Columbia on Saturday.