Women’s soccer NCAA preview: Opponent Analysis

Yale will host Central Connecticut State University Friday in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. The Blue Devils will play in their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament after a 1-0 win over Long Island Sunday sealed the Northeast Conference Tournament Championship. CCSU holds the nation’s sixth best win-loss-tie record, 17-3-0, also the best record in its bracket, which is rounded out by Fairfield and Duke. The team rides a 12-game winning streak into the tournament.

Central Connecticut has outscored its opponents by nearly double this fall, averaging 1.62 goals per game to 0.84 for the teams they have faced. But the Elis have scored even more, averaging 2.02 goals per game this season, and they have held their opponents to 0.58 goals per contest.

When the Bulldogs faced the Blue Devils in early September, midfielder Crysti Howser ’09 scored twice, leading Yale to a 2-0 victory. Yale outshot CCSU 18-8 and had a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks. The game was one of eight shutouts for the Bulldogs. Since then, both teams have lost only one game each, CCSU to Boston College and Yale to Columbia.

Forward Emma Whitfield ’09 said the Elis are currently only thinking about their first round opponents.

“We can’t look past Central right now,” Whitfield said, “Our main focus is on them. They’re probably going to be really aggressive. [Yale head coach] Rudy [Meredith] told us that they have gotten a lot better, but so have we.”

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