Faced with two tough out-of-conference games, the Yale men’s soccer team stepped up to the challenge and held their own in this weekend’s road trip. Kicking off the weekend, the Bulldogs took Syracuse to double overtime in a Friday night draw, while Sunday’s game saw history nearly repeat itself as the Elis again tied with Colgate, their other New York opponent, 2–2.
In a pair of hard fought contests, Yale (0–0–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) took on the Syracuse Orange (1–1–1, 0–0–0 ACC) on Friday night before heading to Hamilton to take on the Colgate Raiders (0–1–2, 0–0–0 Patriot League) on Sunday evening. While this weekend marked the first two games for the Elis, both Syracuse and Colgate had already started their seasons last week.
“The team defended very well against a good Syracuse team and we also saw that we can be very dangerous with the ball,” captain and midfielder Miguel Yuste ’20 said. “All eyes are on the next game now. The goal showed the chemistry we have, applying what we’ve been working on during the preseason.”
Friday night was an absolute dogfight from the first kick of the ball. Syracuse entered the game, coming off an exceptionally strong season last year that ended with a trip to the NCAA Tournament, so the Bulldogs were set for a challenge. Although the Elis had to weather an offensive onslaught, goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’22 proved he was up to the task throughout.
The first half was back and forth, with the teams trading shots and countering off of them. The game opened up in the 34th minute when Syracuse finally converted one of its numerous chances. Midfielder Hilli Goldhar whipped a cross into the box, which deflected off of Haddock and landed in the perfect position for midfielder Simon Triantafillou to slot it home. The first half concluded with the Orange leading in shots seven to three.
Trailing by one, the Elis came firing out of the gates in the second period of play, eager to get back into the game. It only took 10 minutes for the Bulldogs to equalize, and they did so with pure class. Midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 weaved through the Orange defense with ease, leaving the Syracuse defenders in his wake.
Winhoffer then played the ball out wide to winger Andrew Sady-Kennedy ’20, who kicked a dangerous cross into the box. Striker Aldo Quevedo ’21 had a chance to swing at the ball but realized he had Yuste streaking into the box behind him. The Texas native dummied the ball beautifully, freezing the Syracuse defenders, and Yuste throttled the cross off the underside of the bar and into the net. The game was level and left Syracuse on its heels.
“We executed our game plan and dictated the game for the first 25 minutes, forcing them to change systems into a 4-4-3,” striker Matt Massad ’21 said. “We adjusted to their change, came at them and dominated the second half. Ended in a 1-1 draw with a beautifully assisted goal and finish from Sady to Yuste. Honorable mention to a great opening game from Elian Haddock. On to the next.”
The game remained tense, but neither side could find the finish to put the game away. Ryan Raposo was impressive for the Orange with three shots and two shots on goal, but Haddock kept the Bulldogs in the game with five crucial saves. The game went to overtime but remained a stalemate until the final whistle blew, and the Bulldogs were rewarded with an impressive draw against an elite side.
Wanting to go one better than the Syracuse game, the Bulldogs brightly started its first half against Colgate the following day, with three shots in the opening 15 minutes to Colgate’s zero. Colgate keeper Jacob Harris did a good job at blocking Sady-Kennedy and Winhoffer’s shots. Following this, against the run of play, Colgate scored their first shot of the game, with Kian Alberto striking in the 18th minute.
The Elis nevertheless refused to let this setback stop their momentum. A drilled pass across the box late in the first half found Adedeji Palmer ‘21, who calmly slotted into the goal in the 35th minute. From then on, it was a cagey affair. Both sides appeared wary of the other’s attack, with neither wanting to go into the break a goal down.
After half time, the Bulldogs and Colgate fielded different looking sides with both having made 4 changes at the restart. The fresh legs appeared to work to devastating effect for Yale, with Winhoffer converting an assist from captain Miguel Yuste ‘20.
It seemed as though the Elis would comfortably see out the game in an affair that saw both teams cancel each other out in the second period. However, with 3 minutes left to play, Colgate’s Christian Clarke fired through the Bulldog’s defense, who had been resilient throughout the half.
Going into the first period of overtime, the Raiders continued their late second-half momentum, peppering the Yale goal with three shots in the first six minutes. Although they prevented the Bulldogs from having a shot on goal in this period, Colgate themselves were unable to convert any of their chances.
Attempting to find that elusive winner, head coach Kylie Stannard substituted in rookie Siggy Árnason ‘23 for goalscorer Sady-Kennedy. But with a team who had exerted so much energy in an overtime game just two days before, Stannard’s men failed to find the inspiration to edge out Colgate, with the latter having all the opportunities in the second period of overtime.
“This has been a productive trip, and to come home undefeated against two NCAA Tournament teams is a solid foundation for the start,” Stannard said.
The Bulldogs will aim to get their first win of the season against UConn on Sept. 11.
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