Difficult early games for Elis

After just missing the cut for the NCAA tournament last season, the women’s soccer team is ready to take on the new season with vengeance.

“We really played our best soccer towards the end of last season, so our returning seniors are a little ticked off about being one win away from being Ivy League champs,” head coach Rudy Meredith said.

The team will be led by four seniors, including captain Emma Whitfield ’09 and Hayley Zevenbergen ’09, who return this year in search of an Ivy League championship.

The journey will be a tough one, with a season opener at perennial NCAA powerhouse UConn on Friday night. Fresh off of its Elite 8 appearance last year, UConn is the only team in the nation to go to the NCAA tournament each of the last eight seasons.

“The key to the game is to get rid of the first-game jitters,” Meredith said. “This is their 4th game and our first, so the first 15 minutes of the game will be very important.”

The Elis will then come back for a home opener Sunday at 7 p.m. against another tough opponent, St. John’s. As is the case with most of Yale’s non-conference foes, St. John’s and UConn will be very athletic.

“The key is to really just play smart soccer with solid tackles and good technique,” Meredith said. “We want to start the season off right and win the Ivy Championship.”

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