Three goals in the first half gave the women’s soccer team the edge it needed to top non-league opponent Marist on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (3–5–1, 0–1 Ivy) racked up an early lead at Reese Stadium and fended off a Marist comeback in the second half to preserve the win.
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Captain and forward Becky Brown ’11 struck first against the Red Foxes (4–6) in the 13th minute to give Yale a 1–0 lead. Marist goalkeeper Jamie Balzarini saved Brown’s first shot — taken off a feed from forward Kristen Forster ’13 — but the senior forward was quick to put the rebound into the empty net.
Marist saw a scoring chance in the 22nd minute when forward Jaclynn Sabia dribbled down the middle of the field and fired a shot over the top of the net, but the Red Foxes’s burst of offensive momentum was short-lived.
Two minutes later, Brown capitalized again, this time knocking in a rebound from close range after her first attempt ricocheted off the right post. The two goals were the first Brown has scored in seven games since she recorded the game-winner in the team’s season-opener against Penn State on Sept. 3.
“It feels nice,” Brown said of breaking her scoring-draught. “I wish I would have scored one of those goals when it really mattered [in previous games].”
It didn’t take long for the Red Foxes to respond to the 2–0 deficit. Midfielder Samantha Panzner knocked a cross past goalkeeper Ayana Sumiyasu ’11 from inside the goal box 79 seconds later to get the away team on the board.
The Red Foxes threatened the net again in the 33rd minute, forcing Sumiyasu to tip a shot by midfielder Mariah Downey over the top of the goal. Brown had another chance in the 37th minute when she broke away after getting the ball from Forster, dribbling to the right corner of the field and centering, but the ensuing shot from forward Mary Kubiuk ’13 rolled wide.
Kubiuk came up big five minutes later, though, when Balzarini made a diving save to block the forward’s shot, leaving forward Natalie Romine ’11 wide open to tap in the rebound past the left post.
Yale entered halftime with a 3–1 lead, having outshot Marist 12–5.
But the Red Foxes rebounded in the second period, racking up another goal and 11 shots to the Elis’ four.
“Marist came out hard in the second half,” Forster said. “We had a little more trouble connecting passes and keeping the ball.”
The away team got its first shot of the half off just 35 seconds after the restart. Three minutes later, Sumiyasu scooped up another shot driven toward the left post.
The Elis nearly extended their lead in the 55th minute, but goalie Caitlin Landsman saved successive shots by Forster from point-blank range.
“We had a chance to make it four, and we didn’t make good on that,” head coach Rudy Meredith said.
With 30 minutes left, the Red Foxes began to hold the ball in Yale’s defensive zone and repeatedly threaten the Yale net. Sumiyasu stopped several shots, but Marist’s efforts finally paid off in the 81st minute. The away team scored its second goal when defender Lauren Tillotson, positioned by the left post, headed a corner kick up and over Sumiyasu.
Of 15 goals given up by Yale this season, four have been scored off corner kicks.
“It’s something that we’re going to have to work on every day this week, defending corner kicks and crosses,” Meredith said. “It’s our Achilles heel as a team.”
Marist almost tied things up with less than five minutes remaining when Sabia’s shot from the left wing soared over the net. Kubiuk led a quick counterattack, dribbling down the field to fire a shot just high from 12 yards out moments later.
Sumiyasu made five saves in the second half, totaling seven in the game. Both sides tallied 16 shots during the match.
Brown said she felt the Elis let Marist, who Meredith described before the game as better than the Sacred Heart team Yale defeated 4–0 and worse than the Syracuse team the Elis tied 1–1, come too close to making a comeback.
“I honestly didn’t feel like we played to our potential,” Brown said. “We kind of played down to their level and we let them back in the game.”
Yale returns to action Saturday, when the team travels to take on archrival Harvard in Cambridge, Mass.