MEN’S SOCCER: Bulldogs begin Ivy League campaign, continue unbeaten streak with two games in Philadelphia
The Yale men’s soccer team tied the first game of the Ivy League season against Penn before picking up an away win against St. Joseph’s.
The Yale men’s soccer team traveled to Philadelphia for two away games, including their Ivy League opener against the University of Pennsylvania (2–2–3, 0–0–1 Ivy). The game against Penn ended in a 1–1 tie, while the following game against Saint Joseph’s University (3–6–1, 1–0–1 Great Northeast) was a 3–2 win for the Bulldogs.
Penn was last year’s Ivy League champion; in this year’s preseason poll, the Quakers were voted favorite to once again win this year’s Ivy conference, meaning the Bulldogs’ first Ivy League game would be a difficult one. The game was scoreless in the first half despite a couple of scoring chances from either team.
But in the 53rd minute, Max Rogers ’24 gave the Bulldogs the lead thanks to an assist from Eric Lagos.
From there, the game got chippy, with three yellow cards handed out within one minute, contributing to the eight total throughout the game. In the 65th minute, Penn was able to tie the score with a header from Brandon Curran. The end of the game saw some close chances, including a penalty miss from Penn’s Stas Korzeniowski that hit the crossbar. Still, the game ended in a tie.
“The game against Penn was not our best performance,” captain Jake Schaffer ’24 said, “But it was positive given the circumstances: weather, being away, PK in the last 5 mins.”
Schaffer said that they could have won the game, but the team was fine having picked up a point. He added that the team’s focus is on consistent performances.
Rogers said that there is a massive difference between non-conference and Ivy League games, describing the latter as scrappy affairs in which anyone can beat anyone. He emphasized the importance of winning the mental battle in these games.
“Penn are always a dangerous team that historically we have struggled to beat,” Rogers said. “I think the difference between this year and last year was our mentality going into the game. We really embraced the idea of being underdogs this time around.”
The team stayed in Philadelphia after the Penn game and had a day off before their Monday game against St. Joseph’s. The team attended a lunch hosted by Yale men’s soccer alum Matt Wallach ’94 and celebrated the birthday of midfielder Quanah Brayboy ’25.
According to first-year Joseph Farouz ’27, these opportunities to bond are important for the team. He told the News that the trip was long and tiring, with a very quick turnaround between games, but that the team handled it well and remained focused and united.
“It’s always important to ensure that we’re doing something together and as a team,” Farouz said.
The team took on St. Joseph’s in a game that featured plenty of goals, as the Bulldogs needed to score a season-high three goals in order to win. With the Hawks scoring the first goal of the game in the 27th minute, Yale had an uphill climb to victory. Fortunately for them, they were able to tie the game two minutes before halftime with a goal from Olivier Van Spaendonck ’24.
Ten minutes into the second half, Rogers sent in a cross that, after a rebound from the Hawks’ goalie, was put into the goal by Farouz. In the 60th minute, just five minutes after Farouz’s first collegiate goal gave them the lead, Alex Umana ’26 headed in another one of Rogers’ crosses to bring the game to 3–1. Despite scoring in the 72nd minute, the Hawks were not able to overcome the deficit, and Yale won 3–2.
“I feel extremely grateful to have scored my first goal for the program,” Farouz said. “I always say goalscoring is a mentality so seeing one hit the back of the net signifies that more goals are coming.”
The team’s strong performances have brought them good results as of late. Despite a rough start to the season, they are 3–0–1 over the last four games. Asked about their recent success, Schaffer told the News that the unbeaten streak provides additional motivation for the team.
The Bulldogs will look to continue their streak in New Haven this weekend, facing off against Princeton on Sept. 30 and then a week later against Dartmouth on Oct. 7.
“We’ve been great at home this season and [we] want to keep it rolling,” Schaffer said. “These two games should be battles, and I hope everyone comes out to support us!” The Bulldogs are one of three Ivy League teams to be Top 50 in this week’s NCAA Men’s Soccer RPI Rankings.