After starting off the season with a historic nine-game winning streak, the Yale men’s soccer team has now lost two straight games in overtime. On Saturday night, the Elis fell to Penn 1–0 in overtime, marking their first defeat in the Ancient Eight.
The loss was a frustrating culmination to a game dominated by the Bulldogs (9–2–2, 3–1–0 Ivy). Despite outshooting its opponent 16–5, Yale was toppled by Penn (6–5–2, 2–1–1, Ivy). In the second overtime period, opposing midfielder Brandon Bartel won the game for the Quakers off a penalty kick and sent the Elis home with their first conference loss. This defeat comes on the heels of a similar loss against No. 22 Maryland in which the Bulldogs lost in overtime despite outshooting the Terps and dominating the first half. In addition, this is the second game Yale has lost as a result of a judgement call as the Terps scored on a questionable corner kick last Monday.
“We put forth a strong effort against Penn which resulted in a dominant performance, but we came up just short,” defender John Leisman ’20 said. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s how soccer goes sometimes. Nothing will change in regards to the team’s approach to the final stretch of the season.”
Prior to playing the Elis, Penn had mustered only five wins across 12 games, albeit having played the likes of No. 19 St. John’s and No. 24 Rutgers. In addition, the Quakers came into Saturday’s fixture with only one win in the Ancient Eight while Yale had a perfect conference record after achieving a series of 3–1 victories across their three Ivy games. The win over Yale marked the Quakers’ first over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 13 Brown in 2010.
Penn has always proved a difficult opponent — the Bulldogs have not won this matchup since 2012 — but after historic defeats of Harvard and Dartmouth earlier this month, Yale was hoping to extend their conference momentum. In addition, Yale’s two recent losses were preceded by a nine-game winning streak — the longest since the 1935–1936 team won the New England and Intercollegiate championships.
In the opening half, much of the play was kept between the 18s, with less action in the attacking third. Yale had a close opportunity at the end of the half, but the shot by midfielder Enzo Okpoye ’22 just missed the net by inches.
The Quakers gained more momentum going into the second 45, with opposing defender Alex Touche making contact with the box in the 52nd minute. By the close of regulation, the Bulldogs found some opportunities of their own with a free kick by midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 going over top. However, the Bulldogs didn’t ease up on shots, outshooting Penn 8–2 in the second half.
The fatal blow came in the second overtime period when Yale was called for a foul inside the box. Penn veteran and captain Bartel took the kick for the Quakers and hammered it into the back of the net. The goal sent the Bulldogs home with their first conference loss and their second consecutive defeat in overtime after having won nine games in a row.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the outcome of Saturday’s game against Penn,” Okpoye said. “The team played well and we should have come away with at least a point, but that’s the nature of sports — performance doesn’t always translate into positive results. Penn is behind us. Our focus now is on the process, not just results, so we’re going to continue our process starting with Monday’s practice session.”
The Quakers took the game, but the Elis are still on top in the Ivy League rankings with nine points — ahead of Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth, which have seven points apiece.
The Bulldogs go back on the road taking on nonconference Northeastern midweek, followed by Columbia on Saturday.
“The team is looking to reset and focus on what we have been doing positively and learn from [the] not-so-good moments,” forward Paolo Carroll ’22 said. “We dominated the game against Penn but lost 1–0. We have to be better in those moments and individually, I have to be better too. We remain together as a team. [We will] reset and focus up on the game against Northeastern.”
The Elis kick off against Northeastern on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Sophie Kane | firstname.lastname@example.org