The Yale men’s soccer team scored another impressive victory against Northeastern on Tuesday evening, marking the Bulldogs’ 10th win of the season and reaching a double-figure score for the first time since 2005.
This victory comes after two heartbreaking overtime losses against Maryland and Penn. Despite the potential for nerves to disrupt their game, the Elis (10–2–2, 3–1–0 Ivy) exhibited much determination to grind out the win against a disciplined opponent. Northeastern (6–7–3, 3–2–2 CAA) had only won a single game among its previous five, in what has been a poor season for the Huskies. With a starting team full of rotated players hungry to showcase their abilities, the Bulldogs drew on their strengths and were rewarded with a hard-fought triumph. Yale will now travel to New York on Saturday for another away game against fellow Ivy foe Columbia (4–5–4, 1–1–2, Ivy).
“I think the Northeastern game really showed our depth,” defender Jake Schaffer ’23 said. “A lot of guys stepped up because others were rested or injured, and this showed that we have quality throughout the squad. We proved that everyone is able to compete at the highest level.”
Yale has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to make blistering, early attacks throughout this season, and this contest was no different. In just the seventh minute of the match, forward Aldo Quevedo ’21 received a pass from Siggy Arnason ’23 and struck a sweet shot from well outside the 18-yard box that nestled into the bottom corner. From then on, Yale controlled the first half and rarely allowed the Huskies a clear sight of the goal.
The same narrative continued after the break, with Northeastern failing to learn the lessons of the first period. Immediately after the restart, midfielder Ryan Matteo ’20 clipped an inch-perfect ball over the top of the Husky defence and into the path of forward Ryan Lagos ’23, who took one touch before expertly chipping the ball into the net. The strike — merely 29 seconds after the restart — marked Lagos’ first career goal for Yale.
However, the celebrations meant that the Bulldog defence momentarily let its guard down. The team was duly punished when Northeastern answered 35 seconds later to pull back within one. After that point, however, the Elis made sure to maintain their lead, limiting the Huskies to very few scoring opportunities and seeing out the victory. At full-time, they outshot the opposition 16 to 7 and restricted the Northeastern attack to one shot on goal in the whole game.
“Losing those two games against Maryland and UPenn in OT was definitely tough,” Arnason said. “But it’s always a good feeling to be able to grab an away win to get the confidence back up. We will approach the Columbia game the same way we have approached all our games so far this season.”
The Lions have had a rocky season, thus far, having won only one of their past five games. With four wins and five losses this season — and a single victory in the Ancient Eight — the Columbia men will look to improve their conference standing. However, the Lions’ recent victory over Fordham might have provided the team with a new momentum.
In addition to Fordham, Columbia toppled UConn and Brown, whom the Elis will play on Nov. 9. On Saturday, the Lions will head to the field having maintained two consecutive clean sheets in their past two games. While commendable, this is unlikely to intimidate Yale’s own goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’22, who has a goal save percentage of .796 — a rate that falls second highest in the league and 21st nationally.
The Bulldogs head to New York ahead of the pack on nine points, with Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth trailing two behind. Despite suffering their first conference loss on Saturday against Penn, the Elis were ranked No. 25 in College Soccer News’ top-30 national poll for this week. Yale is also ranked 11th in the nation for scoring, having posted five shut-outs this season.
“Our focus now is on the process, not just results,” midfielder Enzo Okpoye ’22 said. “We’re going to continue our process starting with the next practice session, as we prepare for Columbia.”
The Elis last beat the Columbia men in 2009 with a 2–1 victory in New York City. In the past 10 meetings between the two programs, the final result has either come down to a single goal or ended in a tie. In last year’s fixture, the Lions scored a devastating pair that Yale was unable to recover from, ending the game in a 2–1 loss. Despite being defeated by the Lions in recent matchups, Yale still leads the all-time series against Columbia 31–29–8.
The Elis take on Columbia at the Rocco B. Commisso Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.
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