Every team knows that there will be frustrating games, where the final score does not reflect the caliber of a team’s play. But even so, Saturday will be hard to swallow for weeks to come for the women’s soccer team.
On Saturday at Reese Stadium, the Bulldogs (6-6-2, 2-2-1 Ivy) tied Penn (7-4-2, 1-3-1) 0-0 in overtime, pulling themselves slowly but surely out of a losing streak that has been distracting them for two weeks. Yale head coach Rudy Meredith said that despite the tie, it was the best game he had seen from the team all season.
Although the Elis were unable to score, they dominated the entire game, outshooting the Quakers 19-9 and then 4-1 in the ten-minute overtime. Goalkeeper Susie Starr ’08 played exceptionally well, making five heroic saves despite being only a week removed from an ugly head injury sustained at last Saturday’s game at Cornell.
Saturday was Starr’s fourth shutout of the season.
“We outplayed them in every way, and definitely deserved a goal,” Starr said. “We just didn’t get lucky and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
Yale’s most promising goal-scoring opportunity was set by Mimi Macauley ’07 in the second half when her shot at the left corner passed Penn’s net-tender, Sara Rose. But the score was not meant to be, as the ball slammed against the crossbar and ricocheted out.
Meredith, who said the team finally came together like they had practiced all season, called the tie a “travesty.”
“It was extremely unfortunate because everyone that stepped on the field played really well, making it our best team effort,” he said.
There were no individual standouts, Starr said, as the team played well as a whole. Everyone played their role and stepped up with “150 percent intensity,” she said, raising the level of play for the entire competition.
Ending in a tie after such a spectacular display of talent left the Elis with a bitter taste in their mouths, Starr said. A win would clearly have had a better impact on their Ivy League chances, but it is still impossible to count the Bulldogs out of the conference race.
“Mathematically, we still have a chance,” Meredith said.
Without winning against Penn, the Bulldogs’ ultimate rank in both the Ivy League standings and in the minds of the NCAA selection committee will depend on their performance in the next two Ivy games against Columbia and Brown. Columbia (6-4-3, 4-0-1), leads the Ivy standings after snapping powerhouse Dartmouth’s nine-game winning streak 2-0 on Saturday. The Lions’ win gives the Elis another chance to step back into the running when they play this Saturday back at home.
“This is going to be the biggest game because it will show a quality win that may help us get into the national championship competition later on,” Starr said.
With the game against Quinnipiac postponed until next week, the Bulldogs have an entire week to train for Saturday’s battle against the Lions. Today, the Elis will review Columbia scouting information collected by Yale assistant coach Robert Dikranian, who left Saturday’s game early to visit the Lions at their home den in Manhattan.
“Columbia has one of the hardest working teams in the League, and we will have to match their intensity,” Meredith said. “We’ll use this week to get ready for whatever they have in store for us.”