W. SOCCER | Elis split opening weekend

Goalkeeper Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 is back in action this season after an injury last year and recorded 11 saves this weekend.
Goalkeeper Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 is back in action this season after an injury last year and recorded 11 saves this weekend. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

The women’s soccer team got its season underway last weekend, with a 2–1 win at Hartford on Friday, followed by a 1–2 loss at Stony Brook on Sunday.

Against the Hartford Hawks (1–1–1), the Bulldogs (1–1–0) fell behind just eight minutes in. Caitlin Alves burst down the flank and crossed from one yard off the goal line to find an unmarked Amelia Pereira, who chipped the ball into the net to make it 1–0. Pereira came close to doubling Hartford’s lead minutes later when she struck wide. However, as the half proceeded, Yale began to find its rhythm, almost drawing level in the 39th minute with a shot by Mary Kubiuk ’13, saved by opposition goalie Erin Quinlan.

Hartford came out strong in the opening minutes of the 2nd half, but Eli keeper Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 fended off a shot from Natasha Douglas. Both sets of defences showed good discipline, leaving very little space for the offenses to make plays. But the introduction of Paula Hagopian ’16 — accompanied by Head Coach Rudy Meredith’s decision to switch to an audacious 3–4–3 — opened the game up. Yale started attacking down the wings, and 81 minutes in, the Elis had their equaliser, with freshman Ally Grossman capitalising on a rebound to smash home.

The Bulldogs pushed for the winner. With less than a minute left on the clock, Hagopian picked up the ball on the flank and crossed into the box, where Kristen Forster ’13 shot first time to give Yale the victory.

Meredith said other than conceding the goal, the defense played well this game.

“We were much improved in the 2nd half, and hopefully in the next game we can play like that all the way through,” Meredith said. “I was impressed with the spirit shown by the team. It’s been a while since we’ve scored two goals so late.”

The Elis failed to carry their momentum into Sunday’s game against Stony Brook. The Seawolves, playing their sixth game of the season, came out firing on all cylinders, though Jackson-Gibson staved them off with four saves in the opening half hour. But in the 31th minute, Stony Brook’s persistent attack on the Yale goal paid off.

Larissa Nysch capitalised on some poor marking to head in Kristen Baker’s corner and score her first goal of the season.

Yale came into its second game of the season with less competitive play than the Seawolves, and Meredith said communication gaps were present all over the field and the team needed to improve in the final third.

The second half started off much like the first, with Stony Brook (4–1–1) enjoying the lion’s share of possession. But the Elis held them off with some resolute defending. Jackson Gibson was particularly impressive, finishing the game with 9 saves.

The game ebbed and flowed, but sprung to life in the last 10 minutes. Melissa Gavin ’15 whipped a low cross into the box for Paula Hagopian to equalize with six minutes to play. Just two minutes later, Stella Norman punished Yale’s ineptitude at defending corners to put the Seawolves back ahead, setting up a frantic end to the game. Hagopian came agonizingly close to snatching a point for the Bulldogs, striking the post in the 88th minute. Despite Yale’s onslaught on the Stony Brook goal, the Seawolves held out and handed Yale to its first loss of the season.

Stony Brook finished the game with 20 shots, 12 if them on target. Yale meanwhile, fired eight shots and just three on target.

Jackson-Gibson said coming back from a goal down in both games served as a source of inspiration for team going into the rest of its competitive season. But the second game also showed the team it still has a lot to work on, she added.

“We were poor at defending corners today,” Meredith said. “Other than that, I was pretty happy with the performance … We need to step up our first half performance, I loved the spirit shown by the girls, but it would be nice to not to go a goal down early. We don’t want to become the comeback kids.”

Yale will hope to bounce back fast from their defeat for the first home game of the season against Sacred Heart. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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