Locked in a scoreless game, the men’s soccer team (5-2-2, 0-0-2 Ivy) was aggressive, sending players up the field to try and net the winning goal. The strategy almost backfired—twice—but the team survived an offensively unproductive night to finish with a 0-0 draw with Penn (4-6-1, 1-0-1 Ivy). The tie leaves the Lions trailing league-leading Yale by four points at fifth place in the Ancient Eight.
With a little under seven minutes left to go in the second overtime—and most of the team caught up the field as Penn counterattacked—sophomore defender Bryce Terrill made a sliding tackle, taking down a Quaker player in the penalty box. It handed the visitors a golden opportunity to take the lead with a penalty kick.
But sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Jackson made the save.
“Either I save it or don’t, and if I don’t, the game’s over,” he said. “You’ve got to keep calm and have confidence. You’re not necessarily expected to make the save.”
With a couple of minutes to go, Terrill made a clean tackle to break up another great opportunity for Penn. Attacking after a Columbia corner, Terrill slid in to stop a weak pass on a four-on-one.
“I was just trying to slow them down,” Terrill said. “I was thinking about going in for a hard tackle, but I thought better of it and tried to slow it down so the rest of the teammates could get back in time to stop the ball.”
Shot blocks and tackles from the back line masked what was otherwise a tough outing for the Light Blue. For most of the match, the team had trouble maintaining possession of the ball, with hurried passes either ahead or behind the intended recipient that killed attacks before they got close to the goal. Several Lions—notably first-year defender Rhys Williams and Terrill—also got involved in rough play, both picking up yellow cards. Columbia was whistled for 20 fouls, including 11 in the first half alone.
Partway through the second half, the team decided to move senior midfielder David Najem to defense and Williams to forward, and the changes led to the team’s only 20 minutes of sustained pressure.
“We went with two guys up top that are good in the air and put some guys in the back that could serve a little bit,” head coach Kevin Anderson said. “We were struggling with possession, so we decided to serve a little bit, and we started to create chances.“
Williams got the team’s best chance of the night while playing up front. He ran behind the defense as fellow first-year back Joe Morris served a long ball into the box, and volleyed the pass on goal. But it was straight to Penn goalkeeper Tyler Kinn.
Anderson also said that fatigue may have been a factor contributing to the team’s lack of offense. He added, though, that the next couple of days should give the team enough time to rest.
The recovery period may be especially important for Najem and sophomore defender Matthew Shinsky, both of whom left the game due to injury and did not return. Najem, the Light Blue’s leading scorer, had to be carried off the field.
Columbia travels to play the University of Connecticut on Tuesday.