After salvaging a draw against Dartmouth with a dramatic late goal, the Yale men’s soccer team fell victim to a heart-breaking last-minute equalizer against Lafayette.
Having tied the game with just over 90 seconds remaining, Lafayette (2–10–0, 1–3–0 Patriot) scored again in overtime to clinch a 2–1 victory over Yale (3–6–1, 0–1–1 Ivy). The Bulldogs scored first and maintained that narrow lead until almost the final whistle. But with under two minutes to play, the Leopards finally capitalized on one of their numerous shot opportunities to level the score. Energized by its late goal, Lafayette carried its momentum into overtime, in which the team’s leading scorer Evan Vare ’20 fired home the golden goal that lifted his team to just its second win of the season.
“Tonight is an accumulation of factors that made it extra tough,” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “We were missing four defensive starters, we played a double overtime game in 80-plus degree weather on Saturday and we had a tough road trip against a scrappy Lafayette team. With all that, we still had a great chance to win the game, but we learned another tough lesson again and we have to grow and get better from this.”
The Yale men’s soccer team has been stuck on three wins since Sept. 24. A fourth victory this season would give the Bulldogs their highest win total since 2011 and the best showing of Stannard’s three-year tenure. A Tuesday night clash against a one-win Lafayette team seemed like the best opportunity so far to snag that elusive fourth win, but another late-game collapse kept the Elis searching.
Both teams entered Tuesday night’s matchup on just two days of rest. The away match in Pennsylvania came on the heels of Yale’s 2–2 tie with reigning Ivy League co-champion Dartmouth on Saturday.
Clashing at Oaks Stadium, the Elis and the Leopards battled it out for more than 99 minutes. In the 19th minute, Lafayette seemed poised to seize the lead, but Yale midfielder Josh Totte ’18 cleared the shot off the line to keep the game scoreless. Neither team found its way onto the scoreboard in the first half, despite tallying a combined seven shots.
It looked as though the Bulldogs were going to have a tough go of it in the opening minutes of the second half, as the team recorded two consecutive fouls in the initial plays after leaving the locker room. But in the 51st minute, Yale midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 scored the opening goal of the game and his debut goal as an Eli. Winhoffer grabbed the ball off a pass from forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 and blasted a shot that flew into the vacant Lafayette net.
For most of the remainder of the second half, the Elis fended off a thirsty Leopard squad looking to score a goal of its own. With 16 minutes left to play, Lafayette captain and leading scorer Christian Moyse nearly tied the match with a shot that flashed just inches wide of the Yale goal. With the clock ticking down, forward Martin Ssessanga answered the prayers of the persistent Leopard offense with his first career goal to send the match into overtime.
Lafayette carried its late-goal momentum into the overtime period and dominated in the extra minutes. In the 99th minute, Lafayette sophomore phenomenon Vare scored his third goal of the season to secure the 2–1 win over the Bulldogs.
“We were far more composed on the ball than we have been down the stretch in some of our previous games,” Yale defender Andrew Carton ’20 said. “With that being said, we failed to get the job done [which] was the second time in the last three games that we’ve let a 1–0 lead slip, which frankly isn’t good enough.”
Tuesday’s loss was reminiscent of Yale’s Sept. 30 defeat at the hands of Harvard. In that contest, forward Aldo Quevedo ’21 scored in the first half to put Yale up 1–0 over its rival, but the Crimson came roaring back in the final 10 minutes. Harvard scored two goals in a four-minute span to take the 2–1 lead, leaving the crowd at Reese Stadium in shock.
Second halves have confounded the Yale offense all year. Heading into last weekend’s game against Dartmouth, the Bulldogs had not scored a second-half goal all season. Although the team now has three goals in the last two games, that offensive production is little consolation in the face of Tuesday’s last-minute lapse.
The Bulldogs will resume Ivy League play with a matchup against Cornell on Saturday.
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