There is no more room for error.
After falling to Ivy rival Harvard, who now sit in first place, on Tuesday and dropping to second place in the conference standings, the Bulldogs (8–5, 3–1 Ivy) will need to be on top of their game when they travel to Penn this Saturday.
“Obviously we have to win our last three games, and we have to hope that Harvard loses,” Eli head coach Rudy Meredith said. “If Harvard wins out, they win the league. They have to at least lose once for us to have a chance.”
Penn enters Saturday’s match riding a two-game winning streak capped by a recent 5–1 win over Dartmouth last Saturday.
The Quakers (8–3–2, 2–2) currently rank fourth in the conference and are 7–0–1 at home this season.
Last year’s Yale-Penn match at Reese Stadium finished 0–0 in double overtime, one of two scoreless ties the teams have played in the past three years. The Bulldogs hold a 12–4–4 all-time record against the Quakers.
This season, both teams boast strong offensive lines. Penn leads the league with 32 goals and Yale is second with 26.
“They have probably the best attacking game in the league,” Meredith said of the Quakers. “Our number one focus has got to be on slowing down their high-powered offense.”
Penn also has the league’s top attacker in Jessica Fuccello, who has accumulated 16 goals in 13 games. Fuccello contributed three goals and an assist in the Quakers’ win against Dartmouth.
Yale’s offense is headed by forward Becky Brown ’11, who has notched 11 of Yale’s 26 goals. Forward Miyuki Hino ’12 has also been on a roll lately, tallying three goals in the last four games.
Meredith said the game will come down to which defense prevails.
“It’s a question of which team is going to shut the other team down offensively,” he said.
Yale’s defense has been consistently strong this season, posting seven shutouts to date.
But the Elis will continue to make last-minute lineup decisions for Saturday’s match, as the team remains riddled by injuries — particularly among the midfielders and defenders.
“We’re still banged up,” Meredith added. “The problem has been some of our injuries have been in the back, and that has hurt us a little bit defensively in the past few games.” The Elis will meet the Quakers in Philadelphia at 5 p.m. Saturday.