Men’s Soccer Falls to Yale, 1-0


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

The Wildcats fell to 1-1-2 on the season following Sunday’s loss.

Owen Hewitt, Staff Writer

On Sunday evening, Villanova men’s soccer suffered a tough road loss, falling 1-0 to the Yale Bulldogs in New Haven. Yale junior midfielder Kai Moos scored the game’s lone goal, slotting one past graduate keeper Kent Dickey into the far corner off a feed from junior forward Kahveh Zahiroleslam in the 77th minute. The goal was the first of Moos’ career. For the Wildcats, the loss drops them to 1-1-2 on the campaign.

The ‘Cats held the edge in shots 14-7, and shots on goal, 7-2. However, Dickey only made one save in the game while Bulldogs senior keeper Elian Haddock made six, keeping a clean sheet. Zahiroleslam was also credited with a save on a shot late in the first half, as he kicked a header from senior defender Viktor Benediktsson off the goal line. 

“It was a hard-fought game,” Wildcats head coach Tom Carlin said to Villanova Athletics. “It was very transitional. I thought we were a little rushed at times. Unfortunately, we got countered off our set piece and that became the goal. That’s kind of what they do, though, so credit to them.”

Early in the first half, senior midfielder Josh Belluz came off the field after colliding with an opponent. Belluz did not return for the remainder of the game. 

“We had to adjust our combinations and that took some time,” Carlin said to Villanova Athletics. “We certainly could have used Josh’s presence and physicality out there in the second half. He’s obviously a big part of what we do.”

The match got off to a slow start, with just two shots in the first 23 minutes of match time. The Wildcats’ best chance of the half came on the aforementioned Benediktsson header that was cleared off the line in the 39th minute.

The Wildcats led in shots 6-3 at the half, but neither team was able to break through in the first 45 minutes of play. 

The ‘Cats’ offense shared the wealth of attacking chances in the second half as five different players registered two shots over the course of the 90 minutes, but the Wildcats struggled to finish their chances in the attacking third. 

Junior midfielder Branden Johns sent off a shot on frame in the 67th minute that a diving Haddock got a hand to in order to keep things level. Haddock was sharp throughout the game, and Yale’s back line did a good job of helping him out facing a potent Villanova offense. 

Yale was able to counter a Wildcats set piece in the 77th, and Zahiroleslam was able to break free, sending a ball into Moos who tucked the chance away. 

“They were tough and physical,” Carlin said. “That’s a quality opponent and we just weren’t able to get that first goal, which could have really allowed us to get on the front foot.”

The Bulldogs’ win over the Wildcats was their second of the weekend after upsetting No. 10 West Virginia on Friday. The Bulldogs were selected to finish second in the Ivy League in its preseason poll behind only Princeton. Cornell and Yale are the only teams left without a defeat in the Ivy League. 

The ‘Cats currently sit at ninth in the Big East before conference play begins. Xavier and Butler look to be the conference’s top dogs this year, upsetting preseason favorites Providence and Georgetown. Xavier was picked to finish last in this year’s Big East preseason poll, but now sits ranked at No. 25 nationally. 

The ‘Cats will return to Higgins Soccer Complex on Sept. 14 at 4 P.M., as they are scheduled to face NJIT. After NJIT, the Wildcats will open Big East Conference play against Providence at 1 P.M. on Sept. 17. The ‘Cats will likely not see their first ranked opponent until October when they face Xavier, Butler and Georgetown in consecutive games. All three of those teams are currently in the United Soccer Coaches top-25 poll.