SOCCER: Men triumph over No. 23 West Virginia and Villanova, women register first losses
The men’s squad bagged two wins against top teams while the women lost both games in Kansas.
Teddy Cavanaugh, Contributing Photographer
The Yale men’s soccer team charged into Reese Stadium this Sunday night dancing and singing after bagging two hard-fought wins against West Virginia (2–3–0, 0–0–0 Big 12) and Villanova (1–2–1, 0–0–0 Big East). The women’s team (3–2–1, 0–0–0 Ivy), on the other hand, registered two losses against Kansas State (3–3–1, 0–0–0 Big 12) and Kansas University (6–2–0, 0–0–0 Big 12).
The Bulldogs packed their bags and traveled far and wide this weekend. The men’s team found themselves in Morgantown, West Virginia this Friday to play WVU, and then back home in Reese Stadium on Sunday to play Villanova. The women’s team headed over to the Sunflower State to play Kansas State on Friday and Kansas University on Sunday.
“Hard to put into words how proud I am of our team and staff,” men’s head coach Kylie Stannard told Yale Athletics after the men’s first game. “Not only is WVU a top side, it’s a tough place to play and I am most impressed with our ability to control our emotions and not panic after conceding an early goal.”
In West Virginia, the Yalies battled one of the toughest teams in college soccer. The Mountaineers are ranked No. 10 in the nation by Top Draw Soccer and ranked No. 23 in the NCAA. Yale is not included in either ranking at the moment.
Yale was outshot 13–6, but managed four shots on goal to West Virginia’s three. Both goalkeepers registered two saves.
The first half of the game finished with a 1–1 tie. With an early goal from WVU just three minutes in, senior Paolo Carroll ’23 was able to match the score with a penalty kick at 37’. This was the Brazilian’s second scored penalty kick in a row.
Then, after a challenging second half and less than three minutes left on the scoreboard, midfielder Max Rogers ’25 sent a piercing shot from well outside of the box and straight into the net, which meant a 2–1 win for Yale over last year’s NCAA quarterfinalists.
Despite gleeful celebrations in the locker room singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” the Elis had to lace up their cleats again, hungry for victory, on Sunday. They battled Villanova at Reese Stadium, who made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.
“It was a hard-fought three points,” defender TJ Presthus ’25 told the News. “It wasn’t always the prettiest, but we’re really proud of the guys for getting it done. Took us a little bit to find a goal, but we were all really confident it was going to come at some point.”
The first 45 minutes proved unfruitful for both teams, as goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’23 was perfect with two saves to his net so far.
Forward Kahveh Zahiroleslam ’24 also saved Yale’s shutout as he kicked out a ball from Yale’s goal towards the end of the second half. This was not the Californian’s only heroic feat that night, however, as he also played a key role for the goal.
The Elis came ready to score as the clock started ticking again. After dangerous plays from both teams, Zahiroleslam came charging towards the box dribbling past three defenders and finding an opening to pass to Kai Moos ’24, who was free in front of the goal. Moos shot a deadly ball to the far post for the sole goal of the game.
“I think it was a product of a lot of work by the team on the corner,” Zahiroleslam told the News. “It was a good clearance and Alex [Umana ’25] looked up to find me the ball, and I just had a lot of open green grass in front of me. Thankfully, Kai was in a good spot and gave me the assist with the finish; so, I was happy we could get the win tonight.”
The weekend proved to be a clean sheet for Yale, despite the Bulldogs also being outshot 14–7 during the game on Sunday night — with seven shots on target for Villanova to Yale’s two.
As the team came dancing into the field after the clock stopped at 90 minutes, Presthus told the News how the first clean sheet of the season feels “good as a thunder.”
The women, on the other hand, headed West this weeked to battle two teams in Kansas — Kansas State on Friday and Kansas on Sunday.
On Friday, despite the 1–0 loss, goalkeeper Maya Bellomo ’25 registered five saves. Yale was outshot 21–9, with six shots on goal to Yale’s four. The Wildcats’ goal came in the 38th minute, and was the first point scored against Yale after three straight shutouts.
The next day, although the Bulldogs ended with a 4–1 loss to Kansas, Laila Booker ’25 scored her first career goal with only two minutes to go to end the match.
The Elis were outshot 21–10, with 12 shots on goal to Yale’s five. Bellomo once again was in the spotlight with an impressive eight saves during the whole game. The Jayhawks’ goals came at 13’, 27’, 57’ and 89’.
Yale women’s soccer had never faced either program in its history.
The men’s squad will return to the field this Saturday, Sept. 17 against Marquette (3–1–0, 0–0–0 Big East) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which Zahiroleslam thinks will prove to be “a good atmosphere.” The next game for the women’s team will be this Friday against UConn (3–2–1, 0–0–0 Big East) at 7 p.m.