Despite injuries, w. soccer finishes strong

Much like a Sour Patch Kids candy snack, the women’s soccer team’s weekend was at first sour, and then sweet.

What began on a low note with a frustrating, unexpected loss against UMass (5-1) on Friday, 2-1, ended yesterday with a well-deserved 2-0 shutout of Harford (1-7-1). The Elis (2-3-1), who played skillfully despite Friday night’s inclement weather, midfielder Emily Haddad ’07 said, were simply unable to put another goal past UMass goalkeeper Kristin Walker.

Ranked with the Bulldogs at No. 7 in the Northeast Region by the NSCAA/Adidas poll before this weekend, the Minutewomen squeezed in a second and final goal in the last 45 seconds of the match to take back the win.

“It just came down to the fact that we couldn’t score on our chances,” Haddad said. “We’re not disappointed with how we played, but with the results.”

The fluke loss against UMass, she said, was made more frustrating by the Elis’ pregame expectations. UMass was certainly not the hardest competition this season has brought the Bulldogs, who played Duke and North Carolina earlier this month. Haddad said the team had felt prepared for whatever the Minutewomen had in store.

“It’s hard to say that you should have won a game. But that’s just what it was,” Haddad said.

Unsatisfied and upset with Friday’s results, the Elis were hungry for a win on Sunday.

Forward Emma Whitfield ’09 said the team knew it was not performing at its peak on Friday — a sentiment also expressed by Yale head coach Rudy Meredith. After Meredith delivered a speech regarding the team’s underachievement against UMass, Whitfield said the team came into Sunday’s game against Hartford with a greater desire to win.

“As soon as we were done with UMass, we decided to leave it at the door and move on,” she said.

Although the Hawks were no tougher competition than UMass, Haddad said, the Elis were able to deliver on their second try of the weekend. Rookie Caitlin Collins ’10 scored the first goal of the game, and of her collegiate career, in the 73rd minute.

Forward Mimi Macauley ’07 scored the insurance goal in the 85th minute, marking the first time that the team was able to score multiple goals in the same game.

“The start of the season has been really rough on the entire team,” said midfielder Crysti Howser ’09, who missed both games this weekend with a pulled hip flexor. “[Sunday’s win] is a good sign. Hopefully we will be able to build off what we did today.”

The shutout provided a deserved confidence boost for the Bulldogs as they head into next week’s competition against CCSU on Wednesday and Princeton, the first of the Ivy League games and one of the biggest of the season, on Saturday, Whitfield said.

The forecast for the upcoming week is especially bright given expected returns from injury. Captain Christina Huang ’07 pulled her quadriceps this weekend and missed the Hartford game, but both she and Howser should suit up by Saturday. Leslie Perez ’10, who turned 19 on Sunday, fell while sprinting in the second half of the Hartford game after feeling a pop behind her knee. Her injury is as yet undiagnosed.

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