The Yale women’s soccer team will enter the final stretch of the season when they host Penn this Saturday. The matchup will be the first of three straight league games the Bulldogs will play to end their season.
The Bulldogs (6–7–1, 1–3 Ivy) have some momentum going into the matchup after defeating Holy Cross 3–0 on Tuesday. They will face a Quaker team (6–6–1, 2–1–1 Ivy) that is coming off a 0–0 tie against Dartmouth last Saturday.
Head coach Rudy Meredith said that finding the back of the net first will be vital for the team on Saturday. This season the Elis have gone 5–0–1 when they have scored first, compared to going 1–7 when they have faced early deficits.
“That’s probably the most important thing for us, to try and score first,” Meredith said. “That’s very crucial to our success on the field.”
Meredith added that the Bulldogs will have to play strong defensively in order to contain a potent Quaker offense. Penn is currently second in the league in shots per game and is tied for third in goals scored.
“We need to do a good job defending,” Meredith said. “They have a lot of good offensive players on their team, so we have to make sure we defend properly as a group.”
Meredith also emphasized the importance of not only creating, but also finishing scoring opportunities. Despite outshooting Cornell 15–5 last Saturday, the Bulldogs’ inability to capitalize on scoring chances proved to be extremely costly in their 1–0 loss to the Big Red.
“The biggest challenge they present for us is we have to score down their offense,” Meredith said. “If we don’t score down their offense, we’re going to have a hard time, because they have a lot of good attacking players.”
Lat season, captain Becky Brown ’11 and forward Kristen Forster ’13 both scored goals in the matchup to lift the Bulldogs to a 2–1 victory over the Quakers in Philadelphia.
Kickoff is slated for 4:30 p.m. at Reese Stadium.