The Yale men’s soccer team wasted no time dwelling on recent victories over UConn and Niagara, hosting two home games in quick succession last week. Inspired by their dominant performances the week prior, the Bulldogs continued their hot streak with two shut-out victories against Fairfield and Stony Brook.
Having won against a formidable opponent in UConn and successfully orchestrating a comeback against Niagara last week, the Bulldogs were determined to play in the same vein against Fairfield (1–3–2, 0–0–0 Metro Atlantic) on Wednesday. While Yale entered the game with momentum, it was a different story for the Stags, who had won just one of their previous four games. Relentless in their pursuit of victory, Yale continued to dominate and secure its fourth straight win of the season with a 2–0 win over Stony Brook (2–4–1, 0–0–0 America East). Team Captain Miguel Yuste ’20 scored both of Yale’s goals, bringing his season total to four.
“It obviously feels great to get shutouts this week,” keeper Elian Haddock ‘22 said. “But it’s far from only my doing. Our defense has been really solid against some great offensive opponents this season. I think our team has been performing really well and a primary factor is our mentality. We take every day as an opportunity to become better collectively and do our best to focus all of our energy on the next game.”
Wednesday night was a game of attrition in the first half, with the Elis creating significant attacking phases, yet remaining unable to find a breakthrough. Nonetheless, early on in the 12th minute it appeared that Fairfield was right in the game, seeing their shot hurriedly blocked by the Yale defense. This was an anomaly in the narrative of the first half, however, as three corners from Mark Winhoffer ’21 and shots from forward Aldo Quevedo ‘21 and midfielder Ryan Matteo ‘20 tested the Stags’ mettle. These numerous attacks were met with just a single Fairfield shot in response.
“We made a couple of adjustments at the end of the half and halftime,” head coach Kylie Stannard told yalebulldogs.com. “The guys responded really well and I thought we took control of the game.”
Looking to convert their attacks into goals, the Bulldogs came firing out of the gates in the second period of play. Their efforts came to fruition early on in the 49th minute. From a free kick just inside Fairfield’s half, Winhoffer whipped in a wicked ball met by the towering 6-foot-4-inch Jeremy Haddock ‘22, who buried a header into goalkeeper Gordon Botterill’s net.
From then on, it was simply a matter of staying focused from Yale’s perspective, with the early goal knocking the wind out of the Stags’ sails. For the rest of the second half, the Elis were comfortable on the ball and turned up the pressure on the Fairfield defense, with Botterill having to make key saves to keep his side in the game. Unable to extend their lead, the game ended 1–0 to Yale. Yet the stats showed the hosts’ dominance, with the Bulldogs having 11 shots to four in the second half alone and finishing the game with six corners to Fairfield’s two.
Looking to carry on their successes from the Fairfield game, the Bulldogs wasted no time in asserting themselves against Stony Brook. The first goal in the 20th minute, assisted by Paolo Carroll ’22 and Ryan Matteo ’20, was finished by Yuste at the top of the box. The second was fired into the corner on the net with a minute of regular time to go, securing victory for the Bulldogs.
The victory wasn’t due to Yale’s attack alone, with goalkeeper Elian Haddock ‘22 making vital saves, denying Steven Ghitis’ free kick in the 71st minute to preserve the Elis’ lead. As a result, the Bulldogs stepped off the field at Reese Stadium having achieved their second straight shutout.
“We were happy about keeping clean sheets,” defender Siggy Arnason ‘23 said. “We hope to keep this going for the rest of the season, but collectively now we need to remain focused as a team and keep taking things one day and one game at a time.”
The Bulldogs will head to New Britain on September 30 to play Central Connecticut before hosting Ivy League rival Harvard on October 4.
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