Yale’s season opener ended in heartbreaking fashion. Zsani Kajan scored with 5:25 left in the second overtime period to lift St. John’s to a 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs on a gorgeous late summer evening at Belson Stadium in Queens.
The ending spoiled what was a very solid effort in Brendan Faherty’s debut as the Loring Family Head Coach. Yale outshot the Red Storm 18-10 and had a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks.
“For our first time out, I’m really happy with the performance, but there are no moral victories in sports,” Faherty said. “There are a lot of positives to take away, but at the same time, we need to get better in both 18s, specifically on attacking and defending restarts.”
It was nearly a much happier ending for Yale, who appeared to take a 2-1 lead with 10 seconds left in regulation when Reina Bonta headed in a rebound off the crossbar, but the play was ruled off side.
The Bulldogs dominated the first 10-minute overtime period, notching the only three shots, and had the better of the play in double overtime before Kajan’s game-winner.
St. John’s, which was playing its third game of the season, took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when Isabelle Aviza scored her first goal of the season.
Yale nearly tied it less than four minutes later, but Aerial Chavarin’s shot banged off the cross bar.
The Bulldogs did get the equalizer early in the second half. First year Ellery Winkler scored it at 54:43.
Yale had far more high-quality scoring changes over the next 50 minutes but couldn’t get one past Red Storm goalkeeper Naya Lipkens, who finished with eight saves.
Alyssa Fagel stopped two shots for the Bulldogs.
Yale plays its home opener on Sunday vs. Fairfield at 5 p.m. at Reese Stadium.
“The best part about this time of year is we go again on Sunday,” Faherty said. “We will use the next 48 hours to recover and learn from this game. I’m excited for our team to play against a talented and well-coached Fairfield team at Reese.”