After a couple of ties to open conference play, the men’s soccer team (5-2-2, 0-0-2 Ivy) takes a quick midweek road trip today to face University of Connecticut (5-2-4).
The Huskies are the third former or current top-25 team Columbia will have faced this season. The Lions fell 3-1 at former No. 1 Creighton in their season opener, and drew 2-2 with Brown 10 days ago.
Connecticut, which was ranked as high as No. 2 in 2012, put together an outstanding performance on Saturday, in a 3-0 win over Memphis. In addition to scoring three times, the Huskies did not allow a single shot on net, and only allowed two attempts.
Columbia, meanwhile, didn’t put together a strong performance against Penn on Saturday. The Lions were fortunate to escape with a scoreless tie.
“Guys have played lots of games, lots of minutes. A little bit of fatigue sets in,“ Lions head coach Kevin Anderson said. “And the bottom line is that our quality hasn’t been there. The quality to create opportunites. We haven’t created. That’s on us.”
The Light Blue, after scoring at least two goals in six straight games, has now gone over 180 minutes without getting on the board.
“It’s always nice to have that lead, but we have to stay strong, especially if it’s zero-zero,” sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Jackson said. “It’s a little stressful, but nothing we can’t handle, especially with the defense that we’ve had. We’ve been pretty solid all throughout the year.”
Jackson made a diving stop on a penalty kick in overtime to save the game for Columbia, after sophomore defender Bryce Terrill made a rough slide tackle in the goal box. He was one of several Lions to be asked by the referee to tone down his physical play over the course of the game.
“I try to be [physical], sometimes a little too much, like tonight—I made a mistake,” Terrill said. “But Jackl [Jackson] came up with the big save.”
Columbia did start to get more pressure offensively after moving some players to new positions—notably, senior midfielder David Najem to defense and speedy first-year defender Rhys Williams to forward. Williams got Columbia’s best chance of the match late in the second half, as he flew past the Quakers defense to volley a long ball from fellow first-year defender Joe Morris. His shot, though, went straight to the goalkeeper.
“I think that, honestly, we just gotta take advantage of the moments we get,” Terrill said. “We just need to find our rhythm, because if we get into one, no team can stop us, really.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Storrs, Conn.