MEN’S SOCCER: Late goal propels Bulldogs over No. 19 Cornell
With strong performances from goalkeeper Elian Haddock and the Yale defense, the Elis shut out the nation’s highest scoring offense en route to a 1–0 victory.
Courtesy of MuscoSportsPhotos.com
The Yale men’s soccer team put the rest of the Ivy League on alert on Saturday night as it secured a 1–0 victory against No. 19 Cornell.
Yale (5–4–3, 2–0–1 Ivy) welcomed Cornell (8–2–1, 2–1–0 Ivy) to Reese Stadium on Saturday for its third Ancient Eight game of the season. The Big Red — ranked 19th in the United Soccer Coaches poll — entered the game on a nine-game unbeaten streak, and it ranked second in the nation in combined assists and goals per game. Despite Cornell’s offensive firepower, the Bulldogs remained resolute. Memorable performances from keeper and captain Elian Haddock ’23 along with the rest of the Bulldog defense helped maintain the clean sheet, giving Yale’s offense an opportunity to win the game. The winning goal came in the 85th minute from forward Kahveh Zahiroleslam ’24, who volleyed the ball into the bottom right corner. With the win, the Bulldogs secured an additional three points and moved above Cornell in the Ivy League standings.
“It’s a massive win,” Zahiroleslam told the News postgame. “They were 19th in the country and had been on a really good run. This was a team that we knew we had to beat if we wanted any chance in the Ivy League.”
Cornell possessed the ball for the majority of the game and outshot the Blue and White 20–5 during the contest. The Big Red’s first opportunity came a minute into the game as Emeka Eneli used his pace to beat the Bulldog defense down the left side. In his first of seven saves, Elian Haddock denied Eneli at the near post. Three minutes later, Elian Haddock made another save as Tyler Bagley — who led the nation in points per game heading into the contest — got his first shot on target.
Cornell’s best opportunity in the first half came off of a corner kick with 17 minutes remaining. Bagley sent an inswinging cross on target, forcing Elian Haddock to make a save. The rebound landed at the feet of a Big Red player, who fired another shot on target. This time, the goalkeeper’s brother Jeremy Haddock ’23 made the stop as he headed the shot away while standing on the goaline.
The Haddock brothers compose the heart of the Eli defense. Playing alongside two first years and one sophomore at the back, the duo has led the Yale backline, which has not conceded a goal in Ivy play.
“Playing alongside Jeremy and Elian is huge,” defender TJ Presthus ’25 said postgame. “Two veterans — they’ve been through it. They’ve won the Ivy League together, and I’ve got two of the best guys helping me out in practice, film, and the game.”
In the final 20 minutes of the game, both teams were hunting for a chance to get on the scoreboard. Cornell’s Matthew Goncalves received the ball from the right and got a shot off directly in front of goal. Elian Haddock was quick to react, getting one hand on the ball to tip it off the crossbar. Jeremy Haddock came to his brother’s side, clearing the ball from the box to stop the play.
Even with two more dangerous shots from the Cornell side, Yale was the first to put a tally on the board. Presthus fed a long ball up to forward Paolo Carroll ’23, who got a quick touch to feed to Zahiroleslam. Without letting the ball settle, Zahiroleslam volleyed the ball into the back right of the net. The Cornell keeper dove after the shot, but was too late to stop the game winning volley.
In the last five minutes, the Bulldogs put almost everyone behind the ball to deny the Big Red any last second opportunities. With less than three minutes remaining, Haddock made one more big save off a Cornell free kick to deny the final chance for the Big Red.
Notching his fourth shutout of the season, Elian Haddock was named Ivy League Player of the Week. For the second time this season, Zahiroleslam received Rookie of the Week honors.
Wednesday’s game against Stony Brook is the last game in the Elis’ non-conference schedule. The last time the teams met in September 2019, the Bulldogs triumphed 2–0.
“We want to be champs in the Ivy League, but at the end of the day, it’s another three points,” Zahiroleslam said. “We have four more [Ivy] games before we can celebrate anything. It’s just a step in the journey, so just being ready for Stony Brook in the next game.”
The Bulldogs kick off in Stony Brook at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.