Sept. 28, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In his 10 years as the head coach at Yale, Brian Tompkins has seen his team play some memorable games with Harvard. In his first year in 1996, the Crimson scored in overtime to win 4-3. Two years later, in his next trip to Cambridge, it was the Bulldogs who scored an overtime goal en route to a wild 5-4 victory. In fact, in Tompkins' tenure, all but one game between the teams has been decided by two goals or less, a 3-0 Yale victory in 1999.
"There have been a lot of outstanding players and excellent contests between the teams over the years," said Tompkins, who is 5-4-1 against Harvard. "Some have gone our way, others have gone theirs, but it is always a terrific soccer spectacle for the players and the fans."
The latest chapter in the rivalry comes on Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Ohiri Field to meet the Crimson at noon.
"The level of intensity seems to magnify for all Ivy League games, but given the Yale-Harvard history in all sports, it does seem to make the Harvard game a little more special," said Tompkins, who can earn his 100th victory at Yale with a win over the Crimson.
Both teams feature potent offenses. The Bulldogs (4-4-1) scored three goals in their Ivy League opener last Saturday and feature the league's leading goal scorer in Gage Hills, who has five. James Stewart also has emerged as an offensive threat. He has six points in the last two games.
Harvard (5-4) leads the Ivy League with 19 goals. Andre Akpan entered the week leading the league in points with 12. Akpan and Michael Fucito share the team lead in goals with four, while Charles Altchek has scored three times.
"Harvard may be the most potent offensive team in the league this year," Tompkins said. "They have size, speed and skill, and we will need to find ways to effectively neutralize their strengths while creating scoring opportunities for ourselves at the other end of the field."
Both Yale and Harvard are coming off midweek, non-league losses. The Bulldogs fell to UConn 4-1, while the Crimson dropped a 2-1 decision to Rhode Island.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity