ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Yale was one of the final teams to kick off the 2016 season. The wait proved well worth it as the Bulldogs opened with an impressive 2-2 tie at Michigan before a big crowd of 1,768 at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
The Wolverines (0-1-3) of the Big Ten were already playing their fourth game of the season.
“This is an excellent result for Yale Men's Soccer, and it's also a very deserved result,” said Kylie Stannard, the 5K Corral Head Coach of the Bulldogs. “In all honesty, I have never been more proud of a group of young men. The commitment and trust they showed each other is a testament to the team spirit we have built during preseason. Also, to be able to play toe to toe for 110 minutes with a very talented team like Michigan when this is their fourth game and our first game, shows the excellent fitness base they came into preseason with and a testament to their hard work during preseason and during the summer.”
Trailing 2-1, Henry Flugstad-Clarke scored the tying goal with 11:53 left in the second half. It marked a triumphant return for Flugstad-Clarke, Yale’s captain who missed all of last season with an injury. It was his third career goal.
After a scoreless first half, Yale jumped on board first when Ollie Iselin found a loose ball in the box and banged it home at 58:45. Freshman Will Emerson and Nicky Downs were credited with assists.
Michigan, though, grabbed the lead by scoring twice in a 2:30 stretch. Francis Atuahene got the first off a throw in at 69:25, and Yamann Sahlool made a couple of nifty moves to get to the top of the box and score at 71:55.
The Bulldogs, however, refused to go away. Flugstad-Clarke’s tying goal came when he was able to corral a loose ball and put a shot past Michigan goalkeeper Evan Lauro at 78:07. Freshman Addison Luck tallied an assist.
“We knew if we followed the tactics and executed the key details we speak about, we would give ourselves a great chance, and that's exactly what they did today,” Stannard said. “The confidence and composure our guys showed after going down 2-1 was very mature for such a young team. We didn't get rattled and stayed the course which allowed us to get the goal back and we came very close to winning the game on a couple of occasions.”
Emerson and Luck were two of a number of freshmen that contributed for the Bulldogs. Defender Justin Lobe and midfielder Andrew Carton both played more than 100 minutes, and Miguel Yuste and An Le were also in the starting lineup.
In all, 17 different players saw action.
Kees Schipper started in goal and made six saves.
“This is a very positive step for these young men, and we should gain even more confidence from this performance,” Stannard said.
Yale is now 1-0-1 all-time against Michigan. The Bulldogs beat the Wolverines 2-1 in the 2002 Brown Classic.
The Bulldogs are off until they play their home opener on Saturday against Sacred Heart. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium.