Bulldogs Impressive In Opener; Blank Marist 3-0

Bulldogs Impressive In Opener; Blank Marist 3-0

Sept. 2, 2006

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The schedule said it was the first game, but the Bulldogs looked in midseason form in a 3-0 victory over Marist on a wet and windy afternoon at Reese Stadium. Gage Hills scored twice and added an assist for Yale, which won its season opener for the first time since 2002. Erik Geiger made three saves to post the shutout in goal.

"It was the first time on our field and it went pretty smooth for the first game," said James Stewart, who had a goal, an assist and controlled play in the midfield.

The Bulldogs, who started official practice on Aug. 24, outshot the Red Foxes 19-12 but had an even bigger edge in quality scoring chances.

"We have a number of experienced starters which really helped," Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said of the limited preparation time for the opener. "We did a good job of possessing the ball. I'm pleased but not satisfied."

Yale opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Hills settled an Alex Munns pass and fired a left-footed shot in from 15 yards out. Less than five minutes later, Stewart and Hills worked a nifty give-and-go which resulted in Stewart's second career goal. The same two combined for Yale's third goal as well. This time, Stewart got behind the defense and lofted a pass to Hills, who headed it in.

"Everyone was real excited," Hills said. "We controlled play, and I got some great balls from James and Alex."

Marist's best scoring chance came late in the second half, but Geiger made a diving stop of Steve Fantuzzo's direct kick that made it through much traffic in front of the goal.

The Red Foxes, who opened their season with a 2-1 victory over Army on Monday night, are the two-time defending MAAC Tournament champions. Yale also appeared in the NCAA College Cup last year after sharing the Ivy League title with Dartmouth and Brown.

"We have a lot of experience coming back so hopefully we will be able to build on last year's success," Hills said.

The Bulldogs return to action on Tuesday night when they host Boston College at 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity