NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A strong start to the season has the Yale men’s soccer team in the national spotlight. The Bulldogs received votes in this week’s United Soccer Coaches top-25 poll, which was released on Tuesday. Yale then went out and showed it was quite worthy of the attention with a strong 1-0 victory over Fairfield on a chilly night at Reese Stadium.
The Bulldogs have won three straight games and remained unbeaten at 3-0-2.
Yale had the better of the play for large stretches of the game, outshooting the Stags 14-6.
After an uneventful first half, the Bulldogs broke through early in the second half off a set piece. Mark Winhoffer sent a perfect free kick into the box, and Jeremy Haddock headed it past Fairfield goalkeeper Gordon Botterill at 48:25.
“We made a couple of adjustments at the end of the half and halftime, and I thought we took control of the game,” said Kylie Stannard, The 5K Corral Head Coach of the Bulldogs. “The guys responded really well, and the early goal to start the second half was huge.”
Haddock became the seventh different Bulldog to score on the young season, while Winhoffer tallied his fourth assist. Winhoffer leads the Ivy League with eight points.
Yale had several good opportunities to add an insurance goal but were denied by Botterill, who was outstanding.
Elian Haddock was also strong in goal for the Bulldogs, although not nearly as busy as Botterill. Haddock stopped three shots to post his second shutout of the season.
“We did really well to keep up the pressure, and their goalkeeper made of a couple of huge saves to keep them in the game,” Stannard said. “Fairfield is a good team and they made things interesting in the last few minutes, but I’m really happy with how our guys fought to get the shutout and preserve the win. We learned from the Colgate game, and we will have more close games, so these are good experiences for our guys to deal with.”
Since a 2-2 tie with Colgate, where the Bulldogs yielded a late goal in regulation, Yale has outscored its opponents 7-1 in three games.
Fairfield (1-2-2) is the defending MAAC regular season champion. It was Yale’s first win over the Stags since 2004.
The Bulldogs are back at Reese on Saturday, hosting Stony Brook. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
“We are excited for our first weekend game at Reese,” Stannard said. “[Stony Brook] is last year’s America East champions.”