Coming off their season opener at home, the Yale men’s soccer team will make the trip to Washington D.C. this weekend to take on a pair of tough competitors: Howard and Georgetown.
The Bulldogs (1–1–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) will face Howard (1–2–0, 0–0–0 Sun Belt) in the first of two matches in the capital this weekend. After a day of rest, the Elis will take the field again, this time against No. 20 Georgetown (2–1–1, 0–0–0 Big East).
“We really aren’t thinking about Georgetown right now,” head coach Kylie Stannard said in regards to the upcoming games. “The only game that matters is the next one, which is a dangerous Howard team.”
The Elis are coming off their opening weekend against Niagara and Fairfield, when they tallied a win and a loss. Against Niagara, the Bulldogs proved dominant in a 1–0 victory and held the Purple Eagles to just three shots over 90 minutes. Facing in-state rival Fairfield, the Elis maintained that same focus for the first 45 minutes, only to concede two goals late in the game.
Moving on from last weekend’s split, the Elis are focused on taking the season one step at a time.
“After last week’s games, we’ve been focusing on our ability to manage a lead as well as capitalize on set pieces,” John Leisman ’20 said. “While we had the better of possession and dangerous chances against Fairfield, we let them back into the game by coming up short in a few of these areas.”
Yale won last year’s game against Howard 3–0. The Bulldogs scored all three goals in a dominant first-half performance. The Bison, meanwhile, struggled to get things going offensively, tallying only four shots on goal and conceding 16 fouls.
Georgetown has been a major force in college soccer in recent years. The Hoyas improved on their national ranking this season, after finishing last fall at No. 21. Georgetown has taken an average of 18.5 shots on goal per game thus far into the season, easily topping Yale’s 16. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs are an unknown opponent to the Hoyas; the two sides have not faced off since Coach Kylie Stannard took over in the fall of 2015.
Yale’s first two games of the season have been noteworthy. Forward Paolo Carroll ’22 shone brightly against Fairfield. The first year scored the Eli’s lone goal in the 2–1 defeat. An injury to defender Will Emerson ’20 against Niagara forced Enzo Okpoye ’22 into the fray, where he has filled the shoes of the upperclassman admirably. Tom Wallenstein ’21 and Elian Haddock ’22 are also locked in a competition for starting goalkeeper. Wallenstein played in the shutout win against Niagara while Haddock was between the sticks against Fairfield.
“It’s rare in a college soccer season to keep a consistent line-up from game to game,” Stannard said. “Especially when we are playing a quick turnaround and need to rotate a few more players. There may be a couple of changes, but the core of the group is doing really well so there’s not a need to change too much.”
Last year, the Elis took on a similar road trip, trekking to the west coast to take on University of California, Berkeley and No. 25 Stanford for a pair of losses, 1–0 and 3–1 respectively. This year’s trip to Washington, D.C. comes three weeks after the women’s team took on the same competitors with a two-game split.
Victories on the road could give the Elis some affirmation at a crucial moment early in the season. The Bulldogs will need confidence and momentum before they go head-to-head with No. 7 Michigan State next Friday.
The Elis kick off against Howard at Greene Stadium at 7 p.m.
Bill Gallagher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cate Sawkins | email@example.com