The Yale men’s soccer team fell by a single goal on Saturday night to Vermont in a hard-fought match plagued by fouls and tarnished by a first-half Vermont goal.
The Bulldogs (2–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) traveled to the Green Mountain State to face the Catamounts (3–2–0, 0–0–0 America East) in arguably the team’s greatest challenge to date. Although the Elis kept the match against their talented foes close, the offense struggled to exploit any Vermont weaknesses that could have resulted in a Yale goal. Forward Geo Alves, the leading scorer for the Catamounts, tallied a goal in 41st minute that proved the difference in snapping Yale’s two-game win streak, while the Elis failed to find the back of the net for the second time this season.
“While the game was close, the first half was dominated by Vermont,” forward DJ Palmer ’21 said. “If there was one thing we did well it was the way we turned things around in the second half. In the second, we fought harder and created some great opportunities but unfortunately they didn’t pan out.”
The Catamounts outshot the Bulldogs 11–6 on the evening and quelled the Elis’ hopes of a third shutout when Alves found his way past the Yale defense and fired in a close shot past goaltender Kees Schipper ’19. Alves leads the entire American East conference in shots taken, goals and total points. While Yale as a team has averaged just a single goal per contest, the sophomore has compiled five goals in as many games and has already scored two game-winning goals in the 2017 season.
Although the Elis held their own offensively — the Catamounts posted four shots on goal in comparison to Yale’s three — the Bulldogs recorded 17 fouls on the night in contrast to Vermont’s 10. Three of these fouls came in succession just minutes before the opposing goal.
“[It was] an important weekend because it was our first away game, [and] the fouls show that we were undisciplined and disorganized,” Quevedo said. “[We were] always late to challenges [from Vermont’s team].”
Opening up the second half, the Bulldogs had their job cut out for them. The offense worked tirelessly over the following 45 minutes to put themselves on the scoreboard. Forward John Leisman ’20 and midfielders Mark Winhoffer ’21 and Miguel Yuste ’20 all managed to get shots off during the second half, but none past Vermont goaltender Alex Popovitch. The redshirt first year played in just his second game for the Catamounts on Saturday. After consecutive shutouts, Popovitch is poised to see much more playing time for Vermont over the team’s usual goaltender, Aron Runarsson.
Defensively, the Elis worked hard to mitigate Vermont’s charging offense. The veterans from the defensive line, Cameron Riach ’19 and Theo Miller ’18, worked with goalie Schipper to thwart star Vermont players Jon Arnar Barddal and goal-scorer Alves.
“Obviously, Vermont came out a lot more focused and hungry, and that is something that we have to improve,” midfielder Miguel Yuste ’19 said. “They dominated the first half, and a mistake caused us the goal at the end of the half. However, we felt a lot more comfortable with the ball in the second half, and created more dangerous chances to score.”
In comparison to the Catamounts, who had two games six days apart, this was the Elis’ third game in just a single week.
However, the busy Bulldogs will have the week to train before traveling to the West Coast to take on the University of California, Berkeley at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Stanford at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
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