October 27, 2006

Columbia, Senior Day On Tap Saturday

Oct. 27, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Saturday is Senior Day at Reese Stadium. Josh Block, Nick Franchot, Gage Hills, Jake Miller, Alex Munns, Jordan Rieger, James Stewart and Evan Stone will all be playing their final home game. To Yale head coach Brian Tompkins, it seems like only yesterday when he was recruiting the members of the Class of 2007.

"Alex was the first true `Renaissance Man' I ever recruited and I was afraid he might leave soccer to pursue his love of performing as an actor or a singer," Tompkins said. "Fortunately, he has been able to combine soccer and the performing arts and has been one of our top offensive players for four years.

"I was hot on the trail of Gage Hills and went to watch him at a Thanksgiving tournament in California. I happened to mention to his coach, who is a Yale soccer alum, that we needed a defender, and he directed my attention to Gage's teammate, a relatively unheralded player named Jake Miller. After watching two games, I was sold. Two weeks later, Jake was here on an official visit and as a junior went on to become our team MVP.

"Josh and his twin brother Chris were both star high school players in Milwaukee. I remember how difficult it was to tell their parents that I was only going to recruit one of the twins. Luckily the brothers have turned out to be very independent with Josh here at Yale and Chris not too far away at Holy Cross."

In the last four years, these eight players have helped lead the Bulldogs to 32 wins, an Ivy League championship and a berth in the NCAA College Cup.

"This senior class has been exemplary in so many ways," Tompkins said. "They have always played with spirit and conviction and have been great models for what a true Yale student athlete can be."

The seniors hope to leave Reese Stadium for the final time victorious. The Bulldogs (5-9-1, 1-4 Ivy) are coming off a 1-0 victory over Albany on Tuesday night. Columbia is Saturday's opponent. The Lions (7-6-2, 0-3-2 Ivy) beat Adelphi 2-0 on Tuesday. Tom Davison leads the team in goals (7) and points (15). Michael Testa has started 11 games in goal and has a 1.13 goals against average.

"The final home game for seniors is always an emotional experience and we will be looking for a strong performance from the whole team that is worthy of the efforts and contributions the eight seniors have made to the program," Tompkins said. "This is a pride game for both teams. Columbia will be looking to find its first Ivy win, and we want to build on our improved recent play and climb a notch up the Ivy standings. It should make for a great contest."

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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