After a rough weekend on the West Coast, the Yale men’s soccer team returned to New Haven having suffered losses to both Cal and No. 5 Stanford.
The Bulldogs (2–4–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) kicked off their West Coast weekend with a Friday afternoon game against Berkeley (3–2–0, 0–0–0 Pac 12), then turned around for a match against Stanford (6–1–0, 0–0–0 Pac 12) just under 48 hours later. After falling 1–0 to the Bears, the Bulldogs put on an impressive show against the Cardinal. The game remained tied 1–1 until into the second half when last year’s national champions pulled away with two more goals for a final 3–1 score.
“We came into the California trip with full intention of winning both games,” forward John Leisman ’20 said. “Although the results don’t reflect this, we battled every minute and proved that we can compete at the highest level.”
Heading into Friday’s game, the Bears had already faced their fair share of challenges in the season, losing to then-No. 19 West Virginia in the season opener and also falling 3–0 to a talented Creighton team before bouncing back to beat Portland by a single goal on Sept. 9. However, in Friday afternoon’s game, Cal showed energy and confidence from the team’s recent win as they battled it out with the Elis.
Cal’s Jose Carrera-Garcia cemented himself as the Golden Bears’ offensive stud early in the season, leading the team in shots and assists with 14 and three, respectively. Despite his stellar offensive play, he had been unable to find the back of the net through the first four games of 2017. That changed in the 50th minute of Friday’s match when Carrera-Garcia — with help from teammate Sivakumar Aravind — delivered a shot past Yale goaltender Kees Schipper ’19.
Just minutes after the opening of the second half, the Bears gained a one-goal lead that they would hold for the remainder of the game. Overall, Cal outshot Yale 12–4 and the Bears’ keeper Drake Callendar recorded three saves during the shutout.
“We are disappointed with the result because we are setting the bar very high for ourselves,” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “When we challenge ourselves to this level, we learn even more about ourselves and this will help us continue to grow as a team and program.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Elis matched up against another northern California powerhouse when they played two-time defending NCAA national champions Stanford in Palo Alto. The top-5 ranked Cardinal squad has seen an impressive start to its season thus far. Through five games, Stanford lost just once to No. 20 Tulsa, a match where two successful penalty kicks gave the Golden Hurricane a victory before the Cardinal next emerged victorious over then-No. 23 Creighton. Stanford’s most recent win came at the hands of San Francisco on Friday, where the team claimed a 1–0 shutout.
Stanford put pressure on the Bulldogs early in Sunday’s square off. With a header goal from Tomas Hilliard-Arce coming in the 13th minute, the Cardinal demonstrated its dangerous ability to get on the board just minutes after kickoff.
Unfazed by the Stanford offense, Yale’s forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 scored a header in the 14th minute, which marked the fourth goal that Stanford has allowed all season. Prior to their game against Southern Methodist University this season, Stanford had gone 819 consecutive minutes without letting their opponents score.
“Scoring a goal is one of the best feelings ever,” Kenagy said of his point in Sunday’s game. “But it’s always a team effort. The goal would have never happened if Josh Totte ’18 didn’t earn the throw in, and if Justin Lobe ’20 didn’t deliver a great throw.”
The two teams battled it out for the remainder of the first half, entering the locker rooms tied. However, the Cardinal looked much more like back-to-back College Cup champions in the second half of the match, scoring in the 50th and 83rd minutes.
Although the Elis were outshot 20–11, they managed to shut down Stanford’s star forward Foster Langsdorf. Unfortunately, Yale could not answer its opponent’s second or third goals and ultimately fell by two to end the weekend.
“We’re the defending champions and most teams are pretty excited to play against us,” Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn said. “I firmly believe that we have the toughest schedule because everyone brings their A game to have a go at the defending champions, so Yale was no different. They worked hard, competed well and made it an exciting game.”
Looking ahead, Yale will go back on the road to take on Saint Joseph’s next Saturday.
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