What can happen in a span of 24 seconds? Two goals, apparently.
After winning its home opener Sunday, the women’s soccer team (1-2, 0-0 Ivy) dropped a winnable overtime game at Fairfield (4-1) last night, 3-2.
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The Stags were confident with their recent efforts, entering the game on a three-game winning streak after losing their season opener to St. John’s. But the Bulldogs were not without their own success, with goalkeeper Ayana Sumiyasu ’11 earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her spectacular performances against UConn and St. John’s this past weekend.
Coming into the game with a 2-1 loss to UConn and a 1-0 win over St. John’s on Sunday, players said that they were happy with their performances thus far this season. Last night, Yale looked strong from the get-go and started out aggressively early in the game, earning a 7-2 shot advantage in the first half. Imposing this kind of offensive pressure, the Elis quickly went up 1-0 with a header from defender Hannah Smith ’10 off a pinpoint cross from forward/midfielder Becky Brown ’11.
The second half, however, was an entirely different story. Fairfield came out with all guns blazing and had a flurry of scoring opportunities, finally capitalizing in the 85th minute to tie the game. The Elis weren’t quite done yet, as they once again went on the offensive. In the 88th minute, the Bulldogs’ offensive pressure once again paid off, as a well-placed cross forced a Fairfield defender into an own-goal. However, the Elis only had 24 seconds to enjoy their one-goal advantage, immediately giving up an ill-timed goal for a 2-2 tie.
“We really should’ve been more prepared because the two to three minutes after you score is really when you’re most vulnerable to the other team’s counter-attack,” captain Emma Whitfield ’09 said. “They showed that they wanted it a little bit more at the end there, which was obviously pretty frustrating since we had the lead at 1-0, then later at 2-1.”
In the sudden-death overtime, Fairfield continued applying offensive pressure, quickly putting up a 3-0 shot advantage before scoring off a corner kick in the 95th minute.
Yesterday’s defeat marked the second time that the Elis have fallen in overtime this season and the third time that their fate was decided late into a game. With the mental challenges that go along with those close games, as well as the short amount of time in between each game, it would be easy to blame mental and physical fatigue for last night’s loss. But Whitfield was quick to refute that.
“I know it was three games in a week, but that’s not an excuse,” she said. “We need to push through for the full 90 minutes and not be afraid that they’re gonna come back.”