W. SOCCER | First half sinks Elis

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Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

After winning three consecutive games, the women’s soccer team lost some ground in the race for the Ivy League crown with a 2-0 loss at Penn on Saturday.

The Quakers (12-2, 4-1 Ivy) scored twice in the first half to build a 2-0 lead from which the Elis (7-5-2, 3-2) could not recover. It was Penn’s seventh consecutive win and 11th shutout of the year.

“We lost to a better team,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “They outclassed us. We were the Honda Civic and they were the Mercedes.”

The loss knocked Yale down to a third-place tie with Columbia in the Ancient Eight rankings. The Bulldogs now stand four points behind first-place Harvard, which maintained its hold of the top spot with a 2-1 win over Princeton on Saturday.

Penn got off to a fast start and began pressuring the Bulldogs from the opening minutes of the match. The Quakers fired six shots and earned two corner kicks within the first 20 minutes of the game.

“We came out flat,” midfielder Enma Mullo ’12 said. “We should give a lot of credit to [Penn] because they came out flying. Personally, I don’t think we have played another team this season that has come out as strong as they did.”

Still, the Bulldogs created a dangerous scoring chance on their only shot of the first half. In the 21st minute, Mullo played a ball through Penn’s back line to forward Meredith Speck ’15, who got behind the defense and earned a one-on-one with Penn goalkeeper Sarah Banks. But Banks rushed out to block Speck’s shot with her feet and then secured the rebound before anyone else could get a shot off.

“I think that would have changed the game had we scored,” Mullo said. “We would have stolen the momentum. But we once again couldn’t finish our chances, so we paid for it.”

Five minutes later, the Quakers found the back of the net when midfielder Theresa Yankovich took a cross from forward Kathryn Barth and fired a left-footed shot inside the near post to give Penn a 1-0 advantage.

The Quakers pushed their lead to 2-0 at the 31:28 mark after defender Colleen Barry sent an arching cross towards the far post for Barth, who then headed it into the net.

Penn outshot Yale 8-1 in the first half and also had a 4-0 edge in corner kicks.

“I thought that we came out a little slow in the first half, and by the time we realized how big of a hole we dug ourselves into we couldn’t get ourselves out of it,” forward Melissa Gavin ’15 said.

The Quakers continued to generate chances after halftime, but goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 made six of her career-high seven saves in the second half to keep Penn off the board for the remainder of the game.

Though the Bulldogs took five shots in the second half, they could not direct any of them into the back of the net. Kristen Forster ’13 had a final shot for the Elis at the 88:59 mark, but Banks turned it aside to preserve Penn’s 2-0 lead.

The Elis will look to get back in the win column tonight when they host Saint Peter’s in their last non-conference game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

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