Seven Home Games Set For Reese Stadium
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – During his tenure as head coach, Kylie Stannard has never been shy about challenging his teams with a high-quality schedule. This fall, Stannard is raising the bar even higher. The Bulldogs are set to face five teams that played in last year's NCAA Tournament, including defending national champion Maryland, eight that finished in the final RPI top 60 and two that won regular season league titles.
"We've played a very competitive schedule in recent years, but this will be the most challenging and exciting yet," said Stannard, The 5K Corral Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "We return an experienced and talented group that we feel can compete for an Ivy League championship, which is always our goal. We've gone from 201 in the RPI to 75 the past four years, but we have much higher aspirations. This schedule will put us in a position to continue challenging and progressing Yale Men's Soccer at the national level."
Seven of the 17 games will be played in the friendly confines of Reese Stadium, including Harvard on Friday night October 4.
The season kicks off with three straight games against teams that reached the postseason last year. The first two come on a trip to Upstate New York – at Syracuse on Sept. 6 followed by a matchup at Colgate on Sept. 8. The Orange of the ACC fell in the NCAA Tournament to Akron which went on to advance to the title game, while the Raiders won 13 games, including an NCAA Tourney victory over New Hampshire.
The home opener is Sept. 11 against state-rival and national power UConn. The two programs have a long history – the first matchup came in 1935 – and the Huskies are coming off another highly successful season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The longest trip of the season takes the Bulldogs back to Upstate New York for a matchup at Niagara on Sept. 15. The Bulldogs blanked the Purple Eagles 1-0 last year. That is followed by home games with Fairfield, the defending MAAC regular season champion, on Sept. 18 and Stony Brook, the defending America East regular season champion, on Oct. 21.
The final game before the start of Ivy League play is at Central Connecticut on Sept. 30.
"We are going to learn a lot about ourselves in the first few games, and we will certainly be tested and prepared for a very difficult conference schedule," Stannard said. "The Ivy League will be the strongest it's been in years, and it was already the fifth-rated conference in the nation last year, just after the Big Ten. I think [the Ivy League] will be good enough to have at least two to three teams in the NCAA tournament this year."
The Oct. 4 home date with Harvard is the Ivy opener, and the Bulldogs also have their next two league games in Reese on consecutive Saturdays – Dartmouth (Oct. 12) and Cornell (Oct. 19). Sandwiched between those games is a trip to UMass on Oct. 16.
The first of four straight road games is a challenging one – at defending NCAA champion Maryland on Oct. 21, the first meeting between the schools. Ludwig Field, Maryland's home, features one of the best atmospheres in all of college soccer. The Terps finished second in average home attendance in 2018, lifted by the notorious student fan section, "The Crew".
Next up is another difficult road game at Penn on Oct. 26 followed by games at Northeastern on Oct. 29, the final non-league game, and at Columbia on Nov. 2.
Brown visits for the final home game at Reese on Nov. 9, and the regular season wraps up Nov. 16 at Princeton. The Tigers are the defending Ivy champions, but their only league loss a year ago came to Yale, 1-0.
The Bulldogs are coming off a season that saw them post their first winning overall record since 2011 and continue the steady progress the program has made. Yale's overall record has improved in every season since Stannard's arrival in 2015.
"There are some really exciting names in the schedule, but our focus this year is all about consistency," Stannard said. "It's easy to get up for the big games, but a championship level team brings the same level of mindset every day and that will be our focus more than ever."
Report filed by Tim Bennett (email@example.com), Yale Athletics Strategic Communications