Elis hope to defeat Tigers despite injuries

Put a malnourished, pampered Tiger in the ring with a hardy, able-bodied Bulldog full of gusto and the desire to win. The Bulldog’ll take ’em any day.

Although the women’s soccer team (3-3-1) is feeling less able-bodied than usual due to recent injuries, Wednesday’s home shutout of CCSU gives the Elis confidence as they host Princeton (3-2-1) this Saturday at 7 p.m. in Reese Stadium. The match marks the beginning of the Bulldogs’ Ivy season.

Captain Christina Huang ’07, who pulled her quadriceps, and midfielder Crysti Howser ’09, who pulled her hip-flexor, might be absent for Saturday’s game. Leslie Perez ’10 partially tore her hamstring Sunday against Hartford and will be out for the majority of the season, she said. The timing is unfortunate; Perez said she had looked forward to the game against Princeton in particular since it was her second-choice school after Yale.

“It was a huge let-down,” she said. “And on top of that, having two of our main players out — the team captain and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year — is going to make it really hard.”

Although the injuries have placed the team at a relative disadvantage, Yale head coach Rudy Meredith said, the team has been given a chance to test its ability to work with the hand that it has been dealt.

“Obviously we are not where we want to be,” he said. “But the strength of this team is that they have been able to step up. They might have to step up again this weekend. Our team has to check themselves and deal with adversities.”

The obstacles that the team faces include changing lineups, player positioning and on-field plays. While the team has been accepting of the changes thus far, the lineups are in a continual state of flux, Meredith said.

Despite the uncertainty, the team is confident.

“We’ve been handling it really well,” forward Mimi Macauley ’07 said “Last year we didn’t use our bench as much as we have this year and we have a stronger bench this year, which we’re fortunate to have. A lot of the players have been getting the experience that can only help us in the future.”

As to whether or not Huang and Howser will play on Saturday, “That’s still up in the air,” Meredith said,

The team is planning for the worst and hoping for the best, he said.

“We don’t really know what the lineup is going to be but I think whatever we come up with by 7 p.m. on Saturday will be good and put in a position to win,” Howser said.

The team, which prepared on Monday and Tuesday for its game against CCSU on Wednesday, has had little time for Princeton-focused practice.

“We couldn’t overlook Central and get ahead of ourselves,” Meredith said. “Early in the week were thinking about that game. Now we only have today and tomorrow to gear up for Princeton.”

Although the Bulldogs were able to defeat the Tigers when last they met thanks to an own goal off a Princeton defender, Meredith said that Princeton boasts a formidable team. One of the Tigers’ chief assets is midfielder Diana Matheson, the Ivy League’s first Player of the Week this season.

“We have to stop her,” Meredith said. “If we don’t, it’s going to be a long game.”

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