MEN’S SOCCER: Bulldogs blank Boston College in first shutout of the season
The Bulldogs defeated Boston College 2–0 in their second home match of the year Tuesday night as captain and goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’23 posted his first shutout of the season.
Lukas Flippo, Photo Editor
The Yale men’s soccer team blanked Boston College 2–0 on Tuesday night at Reese Stadium, extending its home win streak that began in fall 2018.
The Bulldogs (3–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) played their second home match of the season under the lights at Reese Stadium, picking up a convincing 2–0 result against the Eagles (3–3–1, 0–0–0 ACC). After controlling the pace of the game for much of the first half, the Blue and White converted on a chance in the 36th minute as forward Paolo Carroll ’23 finished a pass from midfielder Sigfus Arnason ’23. Yale fans had a second reason to cheer soon thereafter, as defender and midfielder Enzo Okpoye ’22 returned from injury for his first game of the season. In a slower-paced second half, Carroll picked up an assist in the 83rd minute on a breakaway. The Brazilian forward passed to his teammate and forward Kahveh Zahiroleslam ’24, who tapped the ball into the open net to seal the victory.
The contest against the Eagles was a rematch of the Elis’ final game they played before the pandemic. In 2019, the Blue and White fell to Boston College 3–0 in the opening round of the NCAA Division I men’s soccer tournament. Two years later, the Bulldogs came out on top while securing their first shutout of the season.
“I thought we played really well in the first half, but I think in the second half we needed to do a better job keeping the ball and have a little bit more composure and maturity,” Yale head coach Kylie Stannard said standing on the pitch postgame. “But [I’m] incredibly proud of how we just dug in and grinded it out. The shutout is huge for us because it is something that we value.”
Yale retained control for much of the first half. Forwards Carroll and Eric Lagos ’24 pressured a shaky Eagles’ defense to help maintain possession in the opposition’s half. The Bulldogs earned five corners before eventually finding the back of the net in the run of play. In the 36th minute, Zahiroleslam whipped the ball across the field with the outside of his right foot to find Arnason, who fired the ball across the face of the goal and connected with Carroll, who calmly slotted it past the Eagles’ keeper for his fourth goal of the season.
The Elis showed off a new defensive lineup in the shutout. Defender TJ Presthus ’25 moved from the left side of the defense to the center — his natural position from his days at Columbus Crew Academy — to play alongside Jeremy Haddock ’23. Playing at left back, first-year defender Gelber Lemus ’25 started his first collegiate game to round out the back line alongside right back Jake Schaffer ’24. Presthus commanded the defense with Haddock en route to the clean sheet. The Elis also held their opponent to zero shots in the first half.
“It’s what we aim to do every single game, and it’s something that we’re super proud of,” captain and goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’23 said when asked about the shutout. “It’s really what our program is about.”
After returning from an injury sustained earlier in the second half, Carroll sparked Yale’s second goal of the match. With eight minutes left in the contest, he picked off a risky pass across the Eagles’ back line and carried the ball downfield. As the Eagles’ goalkeeper stepped up, Carroll tapped the ball to Zahiroleslam, who had easy work to tally his fifth goal of the season.
In front by two with just eight minutes remaining, the Bulldogs weathered a flurry of shots by the Eagles to maintain the clean sheet.
For Okpoye — the only senior on the roster — the game celebrated a long journey back to the pitch. Okpoye’s years on the Yale squad have been marked by a series of injuries, including lower body surgeries and a concussion, he told the News postgame.
Okpoye said that defeating the Eagles in his return felt like “poetic justice” — he last donned the Blue and White in November 2019 when the team fell 3–0 at Boston College.
The Bulldogs visit No. 20 Akron this Saturday at 7 p.m.
Correction, Sept. 22: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Okpoye was the 2020 captain. Okpoye is a defender and midfielder, and the story has been updated.