Looking for a win that could push them to their first winning season since 2011, the Yale men’s soccer team plays their penultimate game of the 2018–19 season away against Brown on Friday.
Yale (6–5–3, 1–2–2 Ivy) travels to Providence, R.I., to face the Bears (7–7–1, 1–4–0 Ivy) in a matchup of two teams outside of NCAA playoff contention. These two Ivy foes have had very similar seasons overall, but the Bulldogs have had the better Ivy season. Brown has played two straight double overtime games and is ending its home season against the Elis.
“The team’s only focus going into our game against Brown is getting a win,” captain Cameron Riach ’19 said. “We want to lock it down defensively and maintain a clean sheet. The seniors are all motivated to finish our last away game on a high.”
Last year, the Bulldog-Bear matchup was an incredibly tense affair. It was Senior Night for the Bulldogs, marking the final home game for three Yale players. The emotion of the night carried onto the field, as the game was back and forth for the whole time. The teams combined for 31 shots, but stellar defense and goalkeeping kept the game scoreless: Yale goalkeeper Andrew Bortey ’20 made five saves in total. Even with 20 minutes of overtime, the game ended in a 0–0 tie.
The Bulldogs are looking to bounce back from their recent loss against Columbia, a heartbreaking 2–1 defeat that spoiled the Elis’ NCAA hopes. Two swift first-half goals by the Light Blue put Yale in a deep hole. While the Lions controlled the majority of the game, a late goal by midfielder Nicky Downs ’19 brought the match back into reach. Though the boys in dark blue fought hard, the game ended in a loss.
The Providence showdown this Friday is the seniors’ final away game of their Yale careers. Downs is looking to finish off a stellar final season and build on his inspired performance against Columbia. The senior has four goals and four assists this season, only trailing striker Paolo Carroll ’22 for the team high in points. Striker Kyle Kenagy ’19 has had a solid final season as well. The Illinois native has seven points off of three goals and an assist, placing him at fourth in the team for points.
“Definitely a bittersweet feeling to be nearing the end of our season and careers for the seniors, but we still have two big games left,” Downs said. “Brown is never an easy team to beat especially at their place… Getting three points this weekend is our only objective right now which would secure the first winning season for this program since 2011.”
Brown has had a challenging season this year, especially in Ivy play. The Bears began the year with two wins versus Bryant and George Washington, but followed that success up with three straight losses. Their sole win against Ivy opposition was a 1–0 victory against Harvard that took both overtimes — 110 minutes of play. Many of Brown’s Ivy defeats have been very close: The Bears lost 2–1 to Cornell and then lost to Penn just two weeks later by the same score in double overtime.
Yale will be looking for a revival from forward Carroll, who has been uncharacteristically quiet in the last couple of weeks. His start to the year was phenomenal, when he netted goals in three straight games and tallied four assists in the early half of the season. Yet, Carroll had gone five games since recording a point until the recent fixture versus Columbia. He assisted Downs’ strike — a crucial confidence builder that will hopefully help him get back in form for this last away game.
With 15 goals in 15 games, Brown has struggled to find offensive production this season. They are led by midfielder Daniel Schiller, who is at the top of the team with 11 points this season. Schiller has scored three times for the Bears while also adding five assists. Toby Howell and Derek Waleffe have also scored three times for Brown, but neither have as many assists as Schiller.
“Brown’s a good side and different side this year,” Jack Arnold ’21 said. “They’ll try to play more possession this time around rather than the direct style of play they had last year, but I’m confident in our pressing ability and our attacking potential to cut off their options and find the open spaces when we’re either on the counter or simply building up from the back.”
While Tom Wallenstein ’21 has been the starter for Yale, the Elis boast a deep squad of keepers. Wallenstein has had a steady season, sporting a save percentage of 0.737 and a record of 3–4–3. Elian Haddock ’22 has also seen time this year, playing against both Fairfield and Army. Additionally, in September, Andrew Bortey ’20 guarded the Bulldog net against Fairleigh Dickinson. The junior made two saves in the shutout win for Yale.
The Brown goalkeeping has been somewhat up and down as three netminders have seen playing time this season. The Bears’ primary keeper is James Swomley, who has started 10 games. He has a save percentage of 0.632 and a record of 5–5–0. In addition, Swomley has stopped 24 shots. Max Gross has also played in 5 games, with a save percentage of 0.783. Finally, Max Waldau has featured once this year and made three saves against Boston University.
Yale squares off against Brown at 3:35 p.m. at the Stevenson-Pincince Field.
Eamonn Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org .