Sept. 13, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs play their first game away from the friendly confines of Reese Stadium on Friday, but for one player it won't feel much like a road game. Senior Alex Munns will be in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, on a very familiar field when Yale plays Drake at 8 p.m. EST.
Munns's high school, Theodore Roosevelt, played its home games at the Cownie Complex. His club teams played games there, and he also coached and refereed games in the stadium.
"My parents even helped fund the creation of the complex by buying a brick to be laid in the concrete around the concessions stand," Munns said. "That brick lies there today, with my name on it."
Munns' family is eagerly awaiting his homecoming. His parents sent out nearly 75 postcards to family and friends in the area. His extended family will make a 3.5-hour drive to cheer him on, all decked out in Yale gear that Alex's mother bought them for Christmas.
"Next to playing my final game in Reese Stadium, playing in Des Moines is the biggest event of the year for me," Munns said. "I have been very fortunate in my three years at Yale to have played in some wonderful stadiums before incredible crowds, but I think the game on Friday will be the most meaningful. I will be very proud to come to Des Moines in a Yale uniform, surrounded by my great teammates."
Munns has enjoyed an outstanding career for the Bulldogs. He earned first team All-Ivy honors last year, and with 19 career goals, he has a chance to finish in the top five among Yale's all-time goal scorers.
"Alex's achievements as an offensive force at Yale speak for themselves," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "He has been a huge factor in the team's success in recent years, and his drive and determination have made him one of the Ivy League's premier players the past few seasons. I'm thrilled for Alex that he will have the chance to play in front of his hometown friends and family."
Following Friday's game, the Bulldogs head to Omaha, Neb., to meet Creighton on Sunday at 2 p.m. That game will be televised nationally on tape delay by CSTV. The game, which is being shown live in Nebraska on NET and NET-HD, will air on CSTV on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. (EST) and again on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at noon (EST).
The trip to the Midwest also makes it easier for some of the other players' families to see a game. Josh Block (Wisconsin), Jordan Raybould (Kansas) and Max Rhodes (Oklahoma) all expect to have family at the two games.
More importantly, the Bulldogs hope to put an end to their two-game losing streak. Last year, Yale won difficult road games at Columbia and Princeton.
"Being at home is great, but there is a sharpening of focus and determination that seems to happen on the road," Tompkins said. "We were a decent road team last year, and we will need to channel our thoughts and energies extremely well this weekend to achieve the results we want against some very good teams."
After winning its first three matches to open up the season, Drake has dropped its last three on the road to Tulsa, Northern Illinois and Northwestern. Keith Gorczyca, Kevin Shrout and Peter Kariotis have each netted two goals this season to lead Drake in scoring, while Phillip Breuer leads the way in saves with 18 and has a 0.90 goals against average.
Creighton, which hosts Oregon State on Friday, is currently on a four-match unbeaten streak, improving to 3-2-1 on the year after opening the season on the road against two top 15 foes. Creighton advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA College Cup last year before falling to Clemson.
"This weekend will be a tough test for us," Tompkins said. "Both teams are talented and well-coached. We will need to move the ball well and be consistent in our play with and without the ball."
The Bulldogs (2-2) play at Fairleigh Dickinson on Sept. 20 before returning home to host Princeton in the Ivy opener on Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity