Women’s soccer head coach Rudy Meredith was not sure what sport he was watching for a majority of his team’s game Monday night.
“I didn’t know if it was a soccer match or a hockey match watching the ball go back and forth,” Meredith said.
Nonetheless, the Elis (6–3, 1–0 Ivy) settled down and beat Central Connecticut State University (4–6–1) 3–2 on Monday night.
Despite an early goal by the Blue Devils, the Bulldogs stayed in the game and prevailed. Becky Brown ’11 led the Elis with two goals, while Megan Ashforth ’11 scored her first career goal to seal the win. Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 also had six saves in her first college game as goalie.
Captain Sophia Merrifield ’10 said she was proud of the way her team fought back from down a goal.
“We were sort of at an emotional low because the Harvard game was postponed and we were really looking forward to that game,” she said, referring to the team’s Saturday game, which was postponed due to thunderstorms.
Goals came fast as Beth Lloyd scored four minutes in for Central Connecticut, tapping in a shot Yale goalie Ayana Sumiyasu ’11 bobbled.
Yale answered just nine minutes later when Brown sent Leslie Perez’s ’10 corner kick from the right side into the goal. Perez crossed the ball directly in front of the goal to Miyuki Hino ’12. Blue Devil’s goalie Caity Casey blocked Hino’s shot, but Brown was there for a quick rebound to tie the game.
Brown scored again before the half when she received a long ball from Enma Mullo ’12. Although the pass was slightly long, Brown out raced Casey to the ball for an easy second goal.
“She’s been in a little bit of a drought so that was nice for her to get on track,” Meredith said of Brown’s two goals. “She’s been playing really well. She just hadn’t been fortunate enough to score in the last couple games.”
But Central Connecticut would not go down without a fight, getting past Jackson-Gibson 10 minutes into the second half.
“Central is a good team,” Meredith said. “They’ve got some smart players out there, and every time we made a mistake they would make us pay.”
Jackson-Gibson recovered quickly. She made six saves in the second half for a memorable first game in goal.
“I was a little nervous at first,” she said. “I kind of just shook it off, took deep breaths.”
At one point in the second half, a Blue Devil fired a shot high on goal. Jackson-Gibson jumped, almost touching the cross bar, and snagged the ball, preventing a tying goal.
“I guess it’s just adrenaline,” the 5-foot-7-inch Jackson-Gibson said, describing her jumping abilities. “It doesn’t happen all the time, but it tends to happen during the game.”
Meredith said Jackson-Gibson played an “unbelievable first college game.”
“It wasn’t a situation where we were up four or five goals. It was a one-goal game,” Meredith said. “She’s been playing really, really well in practice. She’s probably going to be our goal keeper in the future, so we have to try to get her some experience.”
The game’s other first came when Ashforth headed in a shot with 25 minutes left on free kick taken by Merrifield.
“It felt really good,” Ashforth said. “Last year I came close a couple times. Sophie and I had talked about the ball she was going to serve right beforehand, and she hit it perfectly and made my job really easy.”
Merrifield said she was optimistic about the team’s chances against Dartmouth (5–4, 2–0) in New Haven on Friday.
“I think we’re at a really good point where we are working well together and we’re enjoying ourselves,” she said. “We’re just excited to vie for first place in the Ivy League.”
Ashforth, too, said the she thought the game prepared the team well for the its second Ivy league game later in the week.
“When we play CCSU it’s always a really competitive game,” she said. “I think it was a good preparation game for us for Dartmouth. I was also really happy that we were able to come back from being behind. Last year it was something we really struggled with.”