Courtesy of Steve Musco
The Yale men’s soccer team fought to a 2–1 overtime victory in enemy territory on Saturday against Ivy foe No. 18 Cornell.
The Bulldogs (5–4–3, 1–1–1 Ivy) took on the Big Red (9–3–0, 2–1–0 Ivy) in their third conference match on the road. An early goal from the home team put Cornell up for most of the first half, but a goal by first-year defender Jeremy Haddock ’22 tied it at one to finish the half. The two teams battled into overtime, where senior forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 scored the winning goal in the 96th minute.
“We believed in our strength, and the talent everyone brings to the team,” goalkeeper Tom Wallenstein ’21 said. “We knew that this game was crucial for our season, so everyone on and off the pitch was thinking about nothing else than getting this win.”
Cornell was favored to win, coming into the match with a six-game winning streak — a perfect record in the league thus far — and a No. 18 national ranking. Meanwhile, the Elis entered fresh off a 3–0 loss to Vermont on Tuesday and a frustrating loss and a tie against Ivy rivals Harvard and Dartmouth, respectively. However it would be the Elis who would clinch the victory and snap Cornell’s streak under the lights of Berman Stadium on Saturday.
Just four minutes into play, Cornell put a tally on the scoreboard to raise the stakes. The Big Red’s Vardhin Manoj dribbled the ball down the right side and sent a cross to the left side of the pitch, where Emeka Eneli, the league’s top goal-scorer, stood waiting inside the box. The striker tapped the ball down and swung a quick but powerful half-volley into the top of the net to mark his seventh goal of the season. Cornell led 1–0.
Yale would fight back the rest of the half and dominate the game; a free kick from midfield allowed the Elis to grab an equalizer at the stroke of halftime. Midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 lofted the ball in front of the net, where towering Haddock was able to get a head on the ball in traffic. The Big Red goalkeeper Ryan Shellow dove to save it but could only get a piece of the ball. The match marked Haddock’s first career start, first career goal and just his second career appearance.
“Regardless of whether we’re playing home or away, we stick to the same game plan. We played with confidence and did well to match the intensity of Cornell,” captain defender Cameron Riach ’19 said. “We approached the game really well. Everyone was focused and determined to get the win.”
In the second half, Cornell made a big offensive push and outshot the Elis 5–2. Still, both teams failed to net a game-winner, forcing an overtime period.
Six minutes into the first OT period, midfielder Nicky Downs ’19 traveled down the field and passed the ball on to forward Aldo Quevedo ’21, who was trying to find some space. Quevedo’s shot deflected off an enemy defender, but the ball came bouncing out to Kenagy, who ripped a low shot past Cornell’s goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner to secure Yale’s victory.
The Elis made the long ride back to New Haven with their first conference win, while Cornell retreated with its first conference loss. Cornell had previously beaten Penn 1–0 and Harvard 4–2, while the Elis narrowly lost to Harvard 1–0. The overlap exhibits the tight race in the league to the top.
“We knew we needed a win to stay alive in Ivy play,” forward John Leisman ’20 said. “So there was definitely a little extra motivation. We put in a complete performance from top to bottom and are definitely looking forward to keeping the momentum going.”
The win places Yale fifth in the league with four points, ahead of Brown, Harvard and Penn. Princeton, which will be the Elis last match of the season, leads the pack with seven points.
The Bulldogs will travel to take on nonconference opponent Army Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Cate Sawkins | firstname.lastname@example.org .