Best Varsity Team: Women’s Soccer

The tale of the women’s soccer team is an epic that just got better and better with every passing week.

Like every great underdog story, the Elis (15-4-1, 5-1-1 Ivy) were dealt a pair of tough losses to kick off the season at Duke and North Carolina. But they were done losing for the next two months. Led by the rock-solid defense of captain Eleni Benson ’06 and a fresh group of rookie talents up front, the squad rallied off 11 victories in a row.

They faltered a bit at the close of Ancient Eight play, but blanked Brown on the final day of the season to secure the first outright Ivy championship in program history.

At the end of the regular season, the Bulldogs garnered many honors. Benson, forward Laurel Karnes ’06, midfielder Chrysti Howser ’09, and midfielder Christian Huang ’07 were named to the first team All Ivy, while forward Emma Whitfield ’09 was given second-team honors and forward Jamie Ortega ’06 and defender Natasha Mann ’09 were named honorable mention.

But the magic was just beginning, as Yale earned its first pair of College Cup home games ever.

The Bulldogs easily dispatched Central Connecticut to set up a rematch against Duke. A spectacular final-second goal by Karnes made the Elis the unlikeliest of victors over the heavily favored Blue Devils and set off an on-field frenzy at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. Though they would falter against defending national champion Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen round, the 2005 team, which outscored opponents 42-16 and was a perfect 9-0 at home, will no doubt go down as the best in school history.

Comments