Elis lose to Big Green in home nail-biter

An unlucky break cost the women’s soccer team a key Ivy League game against Dartmouth this weekend.

The Elis (6-5, 1-1 Ivy) fell to the Big Green (3-7, 1-1) Saturday, 1-0, in a game that came down to the wire. Dartmouth scored with under five minutes on the board to bring Yale’s recent five-game winning streak to an abrupt end and bring their Ancient Eight record to 1-1.

“Everybody played well, it was just a really frustrating outcome,” forward Emma Whitfield ’09 said. “It’s frustrating to have a goal scored on you that late in the game.”

The opening half was characterized by back-and-forth play that ended in a scoreless tie, with both squads struggling to finish on offense. Goalie Susie Starr ’08 had two saves – her eighth consecutive scoreless half – before Ayana Sumiyasu ’11 stepped in for the second half.

The Bulldogs outshot the Big Green 10-4 after the break, but Dartmouth cashed in on a lucky opportunity late in the period. With just over four minutes left on the clock, Big Green forward Maggie Goldstein lined up for a direct kick from 25 yards out and placed the ball in the top left corner of the goal, tipping the scales in Dartmouth’s favor. The Bulldogs had two opportunities to tie the score in the final minute but both failed. Forward Kate Macauley ’11 was blocked at 89:10, and captain Mary Kuder’s ’08 shot with 13 seconds remaining got past goalie Laurel Peak but fell just wide of the post, destroying the squad’s hopes for a last-minute goal to send the game into overtime.

“Our effort was pretty good,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “But we [have been] having this mental letdown in the last 10 to 15 minutes of games. We have a way of losing the game or not closing the game in the last 15 minutes. We have to figure out a way to correct that.”

Several players said Dartmouth also deserves credit for the way they played. Before the match, Kuder said the Big Green is usually one of the Bulldogs’ tougher opponents, as they snuck past the Elis 1-0 in Hanover, N.H., last year. In a contest similar to Saturday’s game, Dartmouth tallied a goal just before halftime and clung to that lead to edge the Elis by one point, thwarting numerous Yale attempts to even the score.

“Every year, they’re a pretty scrappy team,” Whitfield said. “They’re hardworking. The whole game was back and forth, and we were really evenly matched. We had a lot of chances that we should have put away.”

The Bulldogs will look to rebound next Saturday against Cornell (4-7, 0-2), their final match in a stretch of five consecutive at Reese Stadium. The upcoming week will allow the Elis to regroup and focus on the Big Red, who are currently 0-2 in the Ivy League but still pose a threat in the conference.

“If [we] want any chance to win the Ivies, [we] have to bounce back,” Meredith said. “We’ll see what this team is made of at the end of this week. If they bounce back and show some character, they’ll be okay. They have the ability to change the situation that they’re in right now.”

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