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Season Preview: Experienced Bulldogs Eager To Build On Success

2018 Bulldogs (
2018 Bulldogs (

Season Kicks Off Friday Vs. Niagara

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's soccer program is clearly on the upswing. The Bulldogs have improved their Ivy League point total in each of the last three seasons. If that trend continues in 2018, Yale will find itself very much in the thick of the race for the Ivy title. Last fall, the Bulldogs tied for third, their best finish since winning a championship in 2005. With a strong nucleus returning and the addition of another highly regarded recruiting class, enthusiasm and confidence is high.

Yale kicks off the season on Friday against Niagara at 5:15 p.m. at Quinnipiac's soccer complex. The Bulldogs will play their first two games on their Hamden neighbors' pitch while Reese Stadium undergoes an exciting renovation. Yale meets Fairfield on Labor Day at 4:30 p.m.

Unofficially, the Bulldogs began the 2018 season last March when they took a 10-day foreign tour to Italy. The experience and camaraderie of the trip only added to the optimism heading into this fall.

There are three returning All-Ivy players, and both ends of the field are represented. Senior forward Kyle Kenagy earned second team recognition after tying for the team lead with seven points. He was the only player on the team to start all seven Ivy League games. Junior midfielder Miguel Yuste, an honorable mention selection, is a very skillful offensive player. All five of his points a year ago came in Ivy play. Senior Cameron Riach, the team captain, returns to anchor the defense. He is coming off a strong year that saw him earn honorable mention recognition, score two goals, including the game winner against Cornell, and lead the team with 585 minutes played in league games.

Riach will be part of a deep and experienced defense. Juniors Justin Lobe and Andrew Carton were both mainstays on the back line last fall. Lobe led the Bulldogs with 1,232 minutes played, while Carton was one of five players to appear in all 16 games and started 13. Fellow junior Will Emerson started eight of the nine games he played in last year and should see considerable time as well. Sophomore Jack Arnold, who appeared in seven games as a rookie, also is a talented defender.

A pair of first years could contribute to the defense. Jeremy Haddock (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) was an All-America nominee and second team all-state selection as a senior at Whitefish Bay High School. Lazaros Efthymiou (Lakaamia, Cyprus) has experience with Cyprus' Under-19 National team.

The Bulldogs are extremely deep in goal. Senior Kees Schipper (eight starts), sophomore Tom Wallenstein (five) and junior Andrew Bortey (three) all saw action last year and helped the Bulldogs post six shutouts. First year Elian Haddock (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) also joins the goalkeeping mix and brings strong credentials. He was the most valuable player for the West team at the High School All-America game and earned NSCAA All-America recognition as a senior at Whitefish Bay High School. Senior Allec Willis adds strong depth and has been an outstanding mentor to the younger keepers.

Yale will feature a talented midfield. Senior Nicky Downs is a two-time All-Ivy recipient. He has played in 49 games and contributed 20 points in his first three years. Last fall, he tied for the team lead with three assists and was one of five players to appear in all 16 games. Senior Lucas Kirby also has more than 40 games played (42) at Yale. Last fall, he started 10 of the 11 games he appeared in.

Junior Ryan Matteo is a regular in the midfield. Last fall, he was one of five players to appear in all 16 games and started 14. Matteo shared the team's Bob Holliday Unsung Hero Award with James Kochanski. Kochanski and An Le, both seniors, are candidates for playing time in the midfield as well.

Sophomore Mark Winhoffer made an immediate impact in the midfield in his first season. He was the only first year to appear in all 16 games and contributed one goal and two assists. Junior Andrew Sady-Kennedy is a candidate for playing time as well.

Two first years join the midfield. Will Seidman (Chappaqua, N.Y.) was a two-time all-league selection at Horace Greeley High School where he scored 13 goals and added six assists over his final two seasons. Enzo Okpoye (Asaba, Nigeria) was a two-time first team all-state selection at Blair Academy.

Up front, the Bulldogs appear to have a number of scoring threats. Sophomore Aldo Quevedo led the team with three goals and tied for the team lead with seven points as a rookie. Junior John Leisman has scored five goals in his first two seasons and appeared in all 16 games a year ago. Sophomores DJ Palmer, who appeared in 14 games, and Matthew Massaad gained valuable experience in their first years.

Two first years hope to have an immediate impact. Paolo Carroll (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was a two-time player of the year and International High School MVP at Fundação Anglo-Brasileira de Educação e Cultura in Brazil. Logan Sullivan (Santa Fe, N.M.) was TopDrawer Soccer's No. 75 ranked recruit of 2018 and the 21st ranked forward nationally.

There is one more addition up front who brings a unique experience to the team. Senior Robert Mooney joins the soccer team this fall after winning a national championship with the Yale men's lacrosse team last spring. Mooney, who earned second team All-Ivy recognition last spring in lacrosse, was a four-year letterwinner in soccer at the Lawrenceville School before coming to Yale. He will return to the lacrosse team for the spring season.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity