W. soccer vies with Harvard for No. 1 spot

The tide of women’s soccer has swept in the good along with the bad. With a tied record and a Harvard game looming over the weekend, the Elis do not have time to play around.

On Saturday, the Elis (4-4-1, 1-0 Ivy) will take on the Crimson (1-7-1, 1-0) in a match that could help determine Ivy League dominance. Despite its poor record, the Harvard squad is expected to bring the same level of competition as in its last meeting with the Bulldogs. In 2005, the Elis narrowly eked out a 2-1 victory over the Cantabs with a goal from Crysti Howser ’09 2:31 minutes into overtime.

Yale head coach Rudy Meredith said Harvard’s losing record does not indicate the level of their ability to compete. Rather, it is a reflection of the extremely tough competition they have faced early on in the season, he said.

After Yale defeated Princeton last weekend and Harvard bested Penn, both teams hold winning records in the Ivy League. The outcome of Saturday’s game may determine who ultimately comes out on top of the league, Meredith said. Whoever wins the Ivy League will have a bid for the nationals.

“It would be very difficult to make the [National] tournament without making the league,” he said.

In order to secure a number one spot, the Elis will have to compensate for Monday’s loss to Boston University.

“After losing to BU on Monday, when we clearly dominated, I think we now realize that we can no longer afford a loss in our season,” captain Christina Huang ’07 said.

After watching the video of the Boston game, the team used practice time to focus on small, player-specific mistakes.

“Concentrating on the little things is extremely important,” midfielder Crysti Howser ’09 said. “A few little mistakes cost us that game even though we played really well.”

Meredith said each player needs to focus on what she can do that will benefit the entire team and contribute to positive outcomes. Training this week has depended on the individual necessities of each player, forward Mimi Macauley ’07 said.

“Rudy has been more critical of players now than he has been all season,” she said. “It is harsh, because it’s not what we want to hear, but helpful because we are not going to see the same mistakes in our next game.”

Although the lineup for Saturday is still pending, the team’s proven ability to handily interchange positions quells any fear of a last minute changes, Huang said.

“What is very apparent to us is the mobility of many players on the team,” she said.

Although injured players forward Emma Whitfield ’09, Howser and Huang plan to play in Saturday’s game, recent ankle trouble may keep Macauley out. As no diagnosis has been made, Macauley, who was recently named Ivy League Player of the Week, is still uncertain whether she will play on Saturday.

Regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s game, competition with Harvard is always important, Howser said.

“Its gonna be a good game to matter what,” she said. “It’ll be close. That’s just the nature of the game. Both teams are really fired up and ready for the competition.”

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