The Yale men’s soccer team already wore the Ancient Eight crown as they delivered a resounding 2–1 defeat at Princeton on Saturday. Now, following Monday afternoon’s selection show, all eyes turn to Boston College as the Bulldogs look to continue their historic 2019 campaign.
No. 22 Yale (13–2–2, 6–1–0 Ivy) added another win to deliver a 6–1 Ivy record this season after taking on the Tigers (10–4–3, 2–2–3 Ivy) last weekend. Over the course of this season, the team has racked up a total of 13 wins, matching the 1999 team for most wins in school history, while the six conference victories match the 1989 team record for most wins in Yale history. The victory over the Tigers also serves to strengthen the team’s case to host a home NCAA tournament game at Reese Stadium. For now, however, the Bulldogs will travel to Boston to open play in their seventh NCAA appearance and first-ever appearance since 2005.
“This is obviously new territory for the whole team — being in the NCAA tournament — but we feel as though we are up for the task,” defender Siggy Árnason ’23 said. “Boston College [is] a great team with some good results but we know that if we stick to our game plan and play the way we can play, [then] we have a good chance of winning.”
The Bulldogs went into the Princeton game knowing that it was effectively a dead rubber — they secured the Ivy League title against Brown the previous Saturday. But this didn’t deter the Elis’ concentration, as they were determined to close out their regular season on a high.
As has become custom for this team, the Bulldogs were early on the board in their matchup in New Jersey with captain Miguel Yuste ’20 scoring in the sixth minute of play. This marked Yuste’s eighth goal of the season, placing him top of the Ivy League scoring charts. Yuste was also named Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this 2019 campaign. Árnason, who assisted the first goal, doubled the Bulldogs’ lead in the 22nd minute, finishing a well-threaded pass by midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21. Árnason’s stellar performance, with goal contributions for both of Yale’s strikes, led him to be named to the Honor Roll. Opposing forward Sean McGowan reduced his team’s deficit by one, finally putting the Tigers on the board with less than three minutes left of playing time, but it was not enough to execute a comeback for the home team.
“It felt good to get the result and battle hard against a tournament-level team,” Winhoffer said. “It wasn’t our best performance but we ground out a result — which is all that matters. We aren’t going to change anything when we play [Boston College], it is about the process and we will approach the game with the same mentality we have had the whole season.”
Fresh off the Princeton victory, the team gathered with Yale coaches and athletics administrators at the Ray Tompkins House to watch the selection show unfold live. As the players found out they would be playing Boston College, there was palpable excitement in the room. The last time the Bulldogs won an NCAA game was in 1991 when Yale defeated Rutgers 1–0. The 1991 team went on to the quarterfinals before falling to Virginia.
Meanwhile, Boston College (8–5–3 overall) finished fifth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division this year, with a 2–4–2 league record. The last time that Yale faced the Eagles was in 2009, when the Elis recorded a 2–1 victory. The Bulldogs will take confidence in their chances of a memorable tournament run and already demonstrated this season that they could hold their own against defending NCAA champion Maryland.
“We’re very excited for the game on Thursday,” defender Lazaros Efthymiou ’22 said. “We respect Boston College but we don’t fear them and we’re going into the game to win. This is new territory for us, so we are determined to be the best we can be.”
Yale will face Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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