Return to normalcy for Bulldogs vs. SHU

For head coach Rudy Meredith and the women’s soccer team, tonight’s game against Sacred Heart marks a return to normalcy.

Coming off four straight losses to top-20 teams — capped by Thursday’s 7–0 thrashing against No. 4 Boston College — the Bulldogs (1–4) are looking for a fresh start this weekend.

“Our top-20 teams are over with,” captain and forward Becky Brown ’11 said. “Now we can really buckle down and focus on the upcoming games. We’re just trying to forget about [the Boston College] game and kind of begin a new season.”

Yale holds an 8–0 all-time record against Sacred Heart, who most recently beat Rider 4–2 on Sunday. The Pioneers (4–2–1) have totaled 16 goals so far this season, with forwards Lucy Gildein and Samantha Kee combining for nine of them.

Gildein, a freshman, was named the Northeast Conference Player and Rookie of the Week on Monday. She leads the Pioneers with five goals so far this season.

Meredith said the Bulldogs should be back on equal footing against their in-state rivals.

“I think this will be the first team that we’ve played all season that we’ll at least be equally athletic with,” he said.

Still, Meredith said Yale’s squad needs to focus on generating offensive momentum. The Bulldogs have not scored a goal since Brown notched the game-winner against Penn State in the team’s season-opener Sept. 3.

“We have to create some more opportunities for goal-scoring,” Meredith said. “We need to get our offense back in rhythm.”

Scoring goals was certainly not a problem for the Elis in last year’s contest with Sacred Heart. The Blue beat the Pioneers 7–0, with Brown recording a hat trick.

Yale also hosts its first-ever competition against Big East team Syracuse (3–3–2) on Sunday.

The Orange play St. John’s on Friday before taking on Yale two days later. Syracuse earned two wins last weekend, defeating Albany and Binghamton.

Meredith said Syracuse will be a challenging game, but that Yale’s intense stretch of competition against nationally-ranked teams has readied the Bulldogs for any contest.

“They’re a really scrappy team that plays really hard and we’re going to have to work to beat them, but nothing they have will be a surprise for us,” Meredith said of Syracuse. “We’ve seen it all in these past few games.”

Yale takes on Sacred Heart tonight at 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium. Sunday’s home game against the Orange is slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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