After a brief stop at home during the week, the women’s soccer team goes back on the road this weekend to face what is shaping up to be its evil twin in the standings.
Fresh off a recent victory over Sacred Heart (0-6) on Wednesday night, the Bulldogs (2-4, 0-0 Ivy) will look to rack up another win as they take on Central Connecticut State University (2-3-1) in New Britain on Sunday. The game should be a good indicator of Yale’s potential to perform during the Ivy season, as the CCSU Blue Devils and the Elis have five teams in common on their schedules and CCSU has been quite the formidable opponent in recent years.
The Elis have the momentum rolling their way after they reversed a four-game skid on Wednesday by crushing Sacred Heart at Reese Stadium. Becky Brown ’11, Leslie Perez ’10 and Maggie Westfal ’09 all added goals to the effort, and the Bulldog defense was credited with its first shutout of the season.
“It felt great to get the shutout,” defender Jacqueline Gantes ’10 said. “It will be a huge confidence booster for us as we play Central Connecticut, BU and start Ivy League competition.”
Among a number of strong Bulldog performers, the freshman Brown stood out as a key playmaker, notching the Elis’ first goal and an assist in the second half. She currently leads the squad with three goals and has started all six games this season.
“Becky is the leading goal scorer on the team right now,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “She has been playing fabulous the last few games.”
The Blue Devils are in a position surprisingly similar to that of the Bulldogs. Two of their losses have come to ranked teams, No. 9 Boston College and No. 23 UConn, and the other two have come by single-goal margins, much like the Elis. Most recently, they finished with a 0-0 draw against Yale’s Ivy League foe Brown — which the Bulldogs topped 4-2 in their final game of the 2006 season.
“[CCSU] is a very well-coached and hard-working team,” Meredith said. “They give us a tough game all the time. We have to match their intensity level the entire 90 minutes.”
Forwards Rachel Caneen, Beth Lloyd, and Ciara Crinion anchor the Blue Devil offense, and netminder Caity Casey — who has a .854 save percentage this season — will guard the CCSU goal.
As a result, it is important that the Elis capitalize on scoring opportunities early in the game. Last weekend in Portland, the Bulldogs had several good chances on goal, but were only able to finish once, defender Hayley Zevenbergen ’09 said. The inability to score plagued the Bulldogs on both of their major road trips this season.
“If we get chances, we have to put them away early and clean up defensively,” Meredith said.