MEN’S SOCCER: Yale drops third straight match to rival Harvard
With their title hopes on the line, Yale lost two critical matches against New Hampshire and Harvard.
This past week, the Yale men’s soccer team (6–4–3, 1–3–0 Ivy) dropped consecutive contests against the University of New Hampshire (11-3-0, 5-0-0 CAA) and Harvard University (6–4–3, 1–1–2 Ivy).
Both games were tight affairs that went down to the wire, lost by one goal each. Despite an October slide in which Yale has lost four of its last six contests, the Bulldogs have yet to lose a match by more than one goal.
“I think that the team has been playing quite well recently, we just haven’t had the ‘football gods’ on our side recently, compared to our September run,” midfielder Max Rogers ’25 told the News.
The Bulldogs, looking to bounce back from a road loss to Dartmouth, welcomed the red-hot New Hampshire Wildcats to Reese Stadium on Tuesday for their first home-game since Oct. 1.
Riding a seven-game win streak, the Wildcats looked dominant in the first half, refusing to give up possession and putting several shots on net.
Yale, missing its two leading scorers — forwards Paolo Carroll ’23 and Kahveh Zahiroleslam ’24 — looked a bit lost on offense, failing to register a single shot until the final seconds of the first half.
The Bulldogs were also without top defender Jeremy Haddock ’23 and midfielder Jules Oberg ’23.
Despite the one-sided nature throughout the first 45 minutes of play, the game remained scoreless at the half thanks in large part to the work of goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’23.
Head coach Kylie Stannard noted the absences in the lineup after the game, praising his younger players who stepped up in their stead.
“We were missing several key starters tonight, and we had a lot of younger guys step up and have excellent performances,” Stannard said. “UNH had the better of the first half, but we still did well to frustrate them and work our way into the game with a new lineup.”
In the second half, the Bulldogs came out with a greater sense of urgency, forcing the New Hampshire offense into turnovers and putting together nice spells of possession.
Just as the Elis seemed to have flipped the script on the game, outshooting their opponents 4–1 in the second half, New Hampshire earned a free kick in a dangerous area. From about 25 yards out from goal, Wildcats forward Yannick Bright drilled the ball into the top left corner with a Ronaldo-esque curling free kick that was impossible for Haddock to reach.
UNH GOAL!!!! Yannick Bright finds the back of the net! ‘Cats lead 1-0.
Game Day Central ➡️ https://t.co/ss2CTpZ65J#PieceOfThePuzzle pic.twitter.com/YN95dZA6Ay
— UNH Men’s Soccer (@UNHMSoccer) October 19, 2022
Though the Elis remained persistent after the highlight-reel-worthy goal, ultimately outshooting New Hampshire 11–2 in the second half, they failed to score an equalizing goal.
Yale’s best opportunity came on a penalty kick with four minutes remaining. Midfielder Max Rogers ’25 stepped up to take the kick but was denied as keeper Jassem Koleilat read the shot and made a diving save.
It was a tough loss to stomach for the Yale team, as they played arguably their most dominant half all season but came out with nothing to show for it.
“This was a really good performance against a top 25 caliber team and I am really proud of the group,” Stannard said. “The second half was possibly our best, and most complete, second half all season. We dominated the play and [created] dangerous chances and were simply very unfortunate not to score.”
Simply put, Yale failed to capitalize on their many opportunities while New Hampshire, now on a nine-game winning streak, made the most of theirs. The Wildcats, who finished ninth in the nation last season, are building momentum for another strong finish.
Four days later, Yale looked to put the loss behind them and right the ship at home against rival Harvard.
Back at full strength for a must-win game, the Bulldogs came out a bit slow in the opening minutes of the first half, and were only saved from going down 1–0 after Haddock flew backwards made a highlight-reel-worthy save by poking a Crimson header over the bar.
HADDOCK SAYS NO! Big stop by the Yale keeper on the corner to keep the Crimson off the board.
📺 | ESPN+ https://t.co/5oC02Eu6AY
🌍 | https://t.co/zL9WODtgbG
📊 | https://t.co/tu4J8REWco pic.twitter.com/FRnp3gy5pc
— Yale Men’s Soccer (@YaleMSoccer) October 22, 2022
After Haddock’s heroics kept the game even, the Elis repaid their star goalkeeper by upping the intensity on offense, finally breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute after midfielder Eric Lagos ’24 rose up to head the ball in off of a Rogers corner kick.
The score remained 1–0 at the 45-minute mark. The two teams combined for 13 corner kicks, with the Blue and White generating nine shots on goal.
“You couldn’t ask for a more exciting first half, and Yale I tell you, they were building up and then you could feel it coming and then Lagos was able to put it in, and they went into the locker room up 1–0,” said on-air commentator Christine Huber.
Entering the second half up a goal, Yale was given an opportunity to extend their lead after defender Sigfus Arnason ’23 was tripped up in the box, and the referees awarded a penalty kick.
Carroll, who had been a perfect 5-for-5 from the spot, was denied by Harvard goalkeeper Oskar Nilsson, who then stopped a follow-up effort and punched the ball out of his box.
The Crimson, capitalizing on their momentum, equalized in the 74th minute, with Ludovico Roll scoring off a corner kick.
With the game suddenly deadlocked at 1–1, all of Yale’s Ivy League aspirations were on the line in the final fifteen minutes.
The Blue and White’s best chance to win it came in the 80th minute. Midfielder TJ Presthus ’25 whipped a perfect ball into the box right into the path of Carroll, who looked certain to score his ninth goal of the season as he stood five feet in front of a wide-open Harvard net.
Carroll attempted to touch the ball off his chest but ended up sending it just wide of the goalpost. Even Ausin Rooney, the on-air commentator, could not believe it.
“No!” Rooney exclaimed. “Paolo Carroll was there. And he couldn’t put it in. The dynamic finisher hasn’t had the touch tonight!”
Yale struggled to come up with another scoring opportunity, and with the game still tied in the 89th minute, it seemed the Bulldogs were on their last breath.
Desperate for a goal, the Elis had their whole team pressed forward on Harvard’s side of the pitch. A bad touch gave the ball back to a Crimson defender, who booted it downfield, past the last Yale defender.
With nobody back for the Bulldogs, Harvard’s Alessandro Arlotti, all by himself at the halfway line, chased the ball down and surged forward on a breakaway. Arlotti slowed down as he approached the Yale goal, waited for a defender to catch up, and then slid the ball to teammate Ale Gutierrez, who slammed it in from close range. The score gave Harvard a 2–1 lead as time expired.
The Bulldog defenders hung their heads and sunk to the ground as the Crimson stormed the pitch.
Defender Jeremy Haddock, who will be graduating in December and now has two remaining games in his Yale career, looked to pick his team up after the game, high-fiving his teammates.
“Where we failed in the Harvard game was controlling our collective emotion,” Haddock told the News. “A couple moments didn’t go our way and we allowed them to capitalize on momentum shifts. When you sense a momentum shift going against you, you have to try your best to connect simple passes, encourage and over-communicate. We just didn’t do that well enough on the whole.”
With the loss, Yale can officially say goodbye to its chances of winning the Ivy League.
With just three games left to play, a once-promising season for the Bulldogs — who started the year on a seven game unbeaten streak — will amount to no more than a mid-table finish at best.
Nevertheless, Rogers and the rest of the squad are looking ahead to the next game.
“We still have three big games ahead of us, and we have talked about just going through them one game at a time. We have no doubt in our ability and our tactics; we will just be looking to emphasize executing game plans on the day.”
Yale will look to regain their form this Saturday, Oct. 29 as they head to New York City for a match against Columbia.