Becky Brown ’11 had never scored a hat trick for Yale before — at least, not until the first half of last night’s match against Sacred Heart.
Led by Brown’s trio of points, the Yale women’s soccer team (3–0) cruised to a 7–0 win over the Pioneers (2–2) and tacked another game onto a growing streak of shutouts.
“It was amazing,” Brown said of her three goals, all of which she tallied during a 14-minute window of the game. “I haven’t scored a hat trick here, so it was awesome to get the first one. Honestly, I really thought that it was just way too easy. I had all the time in the world, and the defense wasn’t pressuring me that much.”
Brown wasn’t even the first player to put the Bulldogs on the board. In the Sept. 10 competition, it took forward Leslie Perez ’10 just eight minutes to blast a pass from Brown into the back of the net.
But it took even less time to establish the rough nature of Thursday’s match, which quickly turned into a high-contact contest between the two sides.
“I think that we just didn’t want to get into any individual fights with them,” captain and defender Sophia Merrifield ’10 said, noting that the Bulldogs had expected a physical game from Sacred Heart. “I think they were playing really physically because they were frustrated with the pace of the game … It was a little hectic at first, but we settled down about 15 minutes in.”
And once Yale settled down, even the Pioneers’ aggressive play could not daunt Bulldog attackers.
“All we had to do was play quick and get around them and avoid their tackles and we were fine,” Brown said.
By the end of the first half, Yale led 4–0. Their final goal of the period — and the third of Brown’s night — came when Brown broke away with a pass from forward Kristen Forster ’13 and sent a low, hard shot into the left-hand corner of the net. The Pioneers failed to get a shot on goal, and keeper Ayana Sumiyasu ’11 spent the half untested.
Many younger players saw action during the second half of the match, as head coach Rudy Meredith put a largely freshman-based lineup in with about 35 minutes of play left.
“It’s really important to get some of the younger girls experience and to let them play together,” Merrifield said. “The majority of the [second] half they were able to get in, and the more experience the freshmen have, the better it is going to be when we get to Ivies.”
Twenty players in total — all the healthy members of the Bulldog squad, according to Merrifield — participated in Thursday’s match.
Yale scored three more times over the course of the second half. Forward Natalie Romine ’11 brought the Bulldogs’ tally to seven with just under five minutes remaining, when she knocked a rebound from forward Mary Kubiuk’s ’13 shot into the net.
The Bulldogs closed out their night with a total of 14 shots taken. Sacred Heart had two attempts on goal in the second half, but both shots were saved by keeper Adelaide Gay ’12.
The performance was good enough for Meredith, “We scored like 50 percent, and that’s pretty good for us,” he said. “I don’t know if we expected seven. It’s rare in a soccer game that you score that many. I think our offense is just starting to click, and we are getting better and building momentum.”
Meredith believes this weekend’s upcoming game against Northwestern will present a far greater challenge for the his team.
“I think we’ve got to be ready physically, because Northwestern is going to be a tough game,” he said. “They are in the Big Ten Conference, so they play tough teams.”
But at the moment, it seems nothing can bring the women’s team down.
“I just feel like I’m on Cloud Nine right now,” Adele Jackson-Gibson ‘13 said. “I don’t want to lose that feeling.”
The Bulldogs will find out just how tough Big Ten competition is when they face Northwestern at Reese Stadium this Sunday. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m.