W. SOCCER | Freshmen score big for Elis

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Photo by Brianne Bowen.

It did not take long for the class of 2015 to make an impact for the Yale women’s soccer team.

Forwards Meredith Speck ’15 and Georgiana Wagemann ’15 both scored their first career goals to lead the Bulldogs (1–0–1) to a 2–0 victory over Marist (1–2) in the team’s first game of the Yale Soccer Classic. Yale then went on to tie Providence (1–1–4) 0–0 in its second game of the weekend, giving the team the tournament victory.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Wagemann said. “It was awesome that it happened. I was so happy for Meredith, too.”

Head coach Rudy Meredith said he was pleased to see freshmen contribute offensively, especially since the team is without two of its major goal scorers from last year as Becky Brown ’11 graduated and captain Miyuki Hino ’12 is injured.

“We need to pick up the slack,” Meredith said. “We had the question mark, ‘How are we going to score goals?’ Hopefully we’ve answered that question right now by scoring a couple goals today.”

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to find the back of the net, either. The Elis got on the board eight minutes into the contest after forward Anne Song ’13 fed a ball through to Speck, who beat Marist goalie Courey Schaetzle on a one-on-one to put Yale up 1–0.

“Anne played an amazing ball, and I was like, ‘We’ve gone over that, when we’re in the box we have to finish it, and if I don’t finish this they are going to kill me,’ so it was all or nothing at that point,” Speck said.

The Red Foxes came close to tying the game when defender Jessica Arabia fired a long-range shot that sailed just above the crossbar.

Still, the Bulldogs continued to pressure the Red Foxes for the rest of the half and went into halftime with an 8–4 edge in shots.

Yale pushed its lead to 2–0 in the 85th minute when midfielder Enma Mullo’s ’12 30-yard pass found Wagemann, who then buried her shot into the back of the Marist net.

“She is always a great ball distributer,” Wagemann said of Mullo. “It’s kind of impossible to have the vision that she does, but I was ready for it and luckily it came.”

The Elis were solid in the back for the remainder of the game to hold the Red Foxes scoreless. Goalie Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 made three saves to earn both her first win of the season and her first career shutout.

“[We] definitely wanted to start off with a shutout and a win,” Speck said. “You can’t have anything better than that.”

The Elis continued tournament play on Sunday when they faced off against Providence. However, the Bulldogs could not recreate the same offensive output from Friday and instead came away with a 0–0 deadlock.

The Friars, despite outshooting Yale 14–6, were also unable to capitalize on their scoring chances.

Providence pressured the Elis early on, with midfielders Kendra McMullan and Allison Walton both taking shots in the third minute, forcing Jackson-Gibson to make the first of her six saves in the game. But the Yale defense remained solid and withstood the Friar’s offense to keep them off the board.

“I thought we worked well together, and we were able to keep our shape, which we’ve been working on a lot,” defender Anna McCahon ’14 said.

Still, Providence’s defense also locked down to limit the Bulldogs’ scoring chances by consistently breaking up their passes and forcing turnovers, preventing the team from putting together sustained attacks.

“A little bit of credit to Providence, they did a pretty good job defensively,” Meredith said. “[We had] a little bit of tired legs. We never really got in a rhythm.”

Providence nearly broke the tie in the 82nd minute when midfielder Mary Vercollone fired a shot that hit the crossbar and deflected back into play, but defender Torrey Leroy ’13 was there to kick the ball out of the Friars’ reach.

The Elis threatened in the second overtime when Speck crossed the ball to forward Melissa Gavin ’15, who took a shot from inside the box, but Providence goalie Caitlin Walker was there to make the save.

In the end, however, neither team was able to find the back of the net, resulting in a scoreless tie.

Despite the tie, the outcome secured the Bulldog’s first-place finish in the Yale Soccer Classic. The Elis were the only team in the tournament that did not suffer a loss, and they have yet to surrender a goal. The team has now posted consecutive shutouts in its first two games; it had four shutouts all last season.

“We got a lot of good stuff to build on going forward, so I’m happy with that,” Meredith said.

The Bulldogs are off until Tuesday when they host Sacred Heart. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

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