After opening the 2017 season with a frustrating 2–0 home loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night, the Yale men’s soccer team rebounded on Sunday afternoon to clinch its first win of the season in a lopsided 3–0 shutout against Howard.
The Bulldogs (1–1–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) controlled Friday’s match against the Knights (3–0–0, 0–0–0 Northeast) in every aspect but the score; the Elis outshot their opponent 21–8 and maintained offensive possession for the majority of the contest, but the visitors eked out a two-goal advantage as the clock ticked down. Sunday’s match against the Bison (0–3–0, 0–0–0 Sun Belt) provided a ripe opportunity for redemption, and Yale converted its abundant offensive opportunities into a trio of goals.
“Focusing on the positive things we did in the Friday game [helped for Sunday],” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “We played really well. We had a few lapses of concentration that we got burned on, but I think focusing on the positive, trying to move on … and recharging the batteries yesterday [helped us] get ready.”
Despite putting consistent offensive pressure on the Knights in the early stages of Friday night’s contest, the Bulldogs failed to find the scoreboard and fell behind in the 59th minute when Fairleigh Dickinson forward Ahu Obhakhan skirted past Yale goalkeeper Kees Schipper ’19 after coming up short on an initial goal attempt. Obhakhan put the nail in the coffin with seven seconds to go, doubling the Knights’ advantage and solidifying the final scoreline with a breakaway strike. The redshirt junior has netted three of his team’s seven goals this season and already tripled his offensive output from his 2016 campaign.
On the defensive side, the Knights’ first-year goalkeeper Tiago Capela neutralized Yale’s offense from start to finish, recording eight saves and a clean sheet in his collegiate debut.
With a frustrating loss under their belts, the Bulldogs faced Howard on Sunday in a rainy matinee at Reese Stadium. Though its season-opening match lingered as a missed opportunity, Yale was quick to regain its confidence and refocus for the next task at hand, forward John Leisman ’20 said.
It was clear from the first blow of the whistle against the Bison that the Bulldogs would once again establish offensive control on their home field. By the 36th minute, three Yale underclassmen had opened their season accounts to give the Bulldogs a comfortable lead. Forward Ryan Matteo ’20 opened up scoring in the 23rd minute with help from teammates Josh Totte ’18 and Aldo Quevedo ’21, and Leisman followed suit just minutes later with a short strike in front of the net.
The Bulldogs continued to apply pressure despite persistent rain and winds, as Quevedo finished on a second-chance opportunity at 35:05 to notch his third point of the afternoon. After his initial shot attempt from the right side was deflected by the Howard goalkeeper, the Dallas, Texas, native corralled the rebound and deposited the ball across the goal line. Three goals were more than enough for Yale to clinch victory, as the defensive set of Justin Lobe ’20, Theo Miller ’18 and company limited the Bison to just two shots on goal in the entire 90 minutes.
“Anytime you’re up 3–0 it feels pretty good,” Matteo said. “[With] the weather it was kind of hard for [Howard] to get anything going in the back, but I think the defense did a really good job. I was pretty confident having them back there.”
Stannard took the Elis’ sizeable lead as an opportunity to make multiple substitutions and give playing time to both rookies and veterans. Yale finished the contest with a 17–4 shot advantage and a 6–1 lead in corner kicks.
The Bulldogs have little time to relish the victory before hosting Hartford, a team that snatched a 2–1 overtime win against Yale last season. Kickoff against Hartford is at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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