After a historic season filled with tremendous individual performances, the Yale men’s soccer team fell to Boston College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The evening was not representative of the excellence that the Elis had displayed all year long, but Yale’s team has much to celebrate with its capture of the Ivy League title and its undefeated Ancient Eight run.
Yale (13–3–2, 7–0–0 Ivy) was bested by Boston College (9–5–3, 2–4–2 ACC) in a contest that saw the Eagles ride early momentum into a dominant victory. The Bulldogs struggled to possess the ball in the midfield and failed to create first half chances, but showed resilience to challenge Boston College in the second period. The statistics show that the game should have been closer, with the Elis and the Eagles comparable in shots and shots on goal, but the home team was more clinical in its finishing.
“We fought hard,” goalkeeper Tom Wallenstein ’21 said. “It’s a hard way to end the season but overall this program has seen incredible success this year. We have a lot to be proud of as a team and all believe that more promising things are ahead for this squad. This loss will be a motivation for us to work harder in the offseason.”
The game began as a cagey affair, with both sides sitting back and waiting for the right moment to burst forward into an attacking move. But it did not take long for Boston College to strike. Midfielder Kristofer Konradsson was a menace as his team pushed forward, creating chances and testing the goal of keeper Elian Haddock ’22. While Haddock managed to push an initial strike by Konradsson wide, the Iceland native continued to pose a threat and got his reward in the 15th minute. Set on a run, Konradsson lost the Eli center back with a deft chop of the ball with his heel, setting it on his left and slotted it into the net off the tips of Haddock’s fingers. The game was 1–0 and the momentum was with the Eagles early.
Yale, faced with the prospect of its magnificent season coming to an early close, pressed for an equalizer. Forward Paolo Carroll ’22 was put through on goal by a perfectly weighted pass from captain and midfielder Miguel Yuste ’20 but the Boston College keeper closed and diverted the ball from Carroll’s feet. Forward Aldo Quevedo ’21 was first on the scene and nearly placed it home, but a last-ditch tackle by a sliding Eagle’s defender forced his shot wide. The Elis were down, but not out.
The Bulldogs’ resilience was tested once more with under ten minutes left in the first half. Midfielder Tyshawn Rose went an impressive run along the end line, holding off a Yale defender with a shoulder, and squared the ball to fellow midfielder Michael Suski, who lasered the ball into the roof of the net. The 2–0 lead gave the Bulldogs an even greater mountain to climb, but the Elis never let themselves appear defeated. Yet, bad went to worse when forward Stefan Sigurdarson gathered the ball in the box with three minutes to play and fired a shot inside the post to make it 3–0. The half ended in lopsided fashion for the Yale squad.
The second half showed promise for a heroic comeback, but the Eagles quickly closed the door on the contest and the Bulldog season. Midfielder and Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Mark Winhoffer ’21 and Yuste peppered the Boston College net with shots, but goalkeeper Christian Garner was up to the task on each one. Carroll continued to be an aerial threat, directing headers goalward but to no avail. The Bulldogs thought they pulled a goal back late, but the flag was raised for offside. The final whistle blew on a frustrating end to a heroic and historic season for Yale men’s soccer, as the team fell 3–0.
“Obviously, it was a tough end to the season,” Yuste said. “Boston College is a great team and were efficient with their chances and better today. Nevertheless, as the captain, I am beyond proud of this team and this season. Ended with a tough result, but the Ivy League title, Yale’s NCAA first appearance in so many years and tying the record of wins in [the] program’s history is something that will always be there. Family, alumni and fans showed incredible support throughout the entire season, and we are so thankful for that.”
Yale finished first in the Ivy League with a perfect 7–0–0 record in conference play this year.
Eamonn Smith | email@example.com