Wilkins’ First Career Goal, Chesky’s First Shutout Lift Yale Past Lehigh

Milan Tica. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Milan Tica. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Snap Lehigh's Three-Game Winning Streak

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – One of the prettiest goals of the season was enough to lift the Yale men's soccer team past Lehigh on a rainy night at Reese Stadium. Freshman Cody Wilkins scored it at 37:19 as the Bulldogs snapped the Mountain Hawks' three-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory.

Charlie Neil lofted a ball into the center of the box to Wilkins, who sharply headed it into the right corner of the net.

"It was a very good goal," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "Cody plays with tremendous energy, and he really showed his athleticism. He is improving with every game and has a bright future."

It was Wilkins' first career goal.

Matt Chesky drew the start in goal and made two saves to post his first career shutout, Yale's third of the season.

"We defended well against a very talented opponent," Tompkins said.

Coming off a hard-fought game with Penn last Saturday, and facing another important Ivy contest this weekend against Columbia, Tompkins played 20 different players against the Mountain Hawks.

"I think the important thing about tonight's win is that the entire squad deserves credit," he said. "We got important contributions from a lot of different people."

Once the Bulldogs (3-10-1) grabbed the lead they did an excellent job of limiting Lehigh's chances. The Mountain Hawks only had two decent opportunities, and both came in the first five minutes of the second half.  Joe Puleo found himself open in the left side of the box just 30 seconds in, but his hard shot went wide. A few minutes later, Steven Avena raced down near sideline and sent a cross to Puleo, who deflected it just wide of the far post.

Yale nearly added an insurance goal midway through the second half. Peter Jacobson out-ran a Lehigh defender to a forward pass, broke in alone and slipped a shot that went just wide.

Lehigh, which has a victory over Princeton on its resume, had 11 corner kicks in the game but was unable to capitalize.

The Mountain Hawks (7-6-2) had a 9-8 edge in shots.

"This win will be important for our confidence, especially since it was our last non-league game," Tompkins said. "Hopefully it will give us some momentum heading into the stretch run of the Ivy League season."

The Bulldogs are back at Reese Stadium on Saturday when they host Columbia. Kickoff is slated for 4:30 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity