W. SOCCER | Bulldogs drop first home game in OT

Midfielder Murial Battaglia ’15 headed in her third goal of the season in Saturday’s game against Princeton.
Midfielder Murial Battaglia ’15 headed in her third goal of the season in Saturday’s game against Princeton. Photo by Graham Harboe.

An accidental header from a Yale defender ended the Bulldogs’ three-game winning streak on Saturday and gave the Elis their first loss at home this season.

With just over three minutes to go in overtime, Princeton (4–3, 1–0 Ivy) scored after a throw-in by Tiger Liana Cornacchio was unintentionally deflected into the net by defender Trish Berkanish ’13.

“I think we battled really well,” forward Anne Song ’13 said. “It was unfortunate it turned out the way it did.”

Like their other games this season, the Bulldogs (5–4, 0–1 Ivy) played another highly physical game on Saturday. The Tigers received two yellow cards, one during each half.

Yale scored first, despite Princeton’s fiery play. Just 11 minutes into the game, forward Melissa Gavin ’15 found midfielder Muriel Battaglia ’15 in the swamp of players in front of the Tigers’ goal with a precise corner kick. Battaglia jumped up and headed the ball in to give the Bulldogs their only lead of the game. It was not long before Princeton came back.

The Tigers flew out onto the field with fierceness in the first half, taking control of the ball and the midfield. Princeton fired a total of nine shots during the course of the first half, but goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 and solid defense from the Bulldogs kept the Tigers to zero goals until 24 minutes into the game, Tiger midfielder and defender Gabriella Guzman boomed a shot from 25 yards out, picking off the top corner.

“They controlled the midfield a little bit better,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “I thought the midfield play was the difference in the game.”

After Princeton’s onslaught in the first half, the Elis were tired of the Tigers’ claiming the midfield as their own. Yale came back to the field charged with the speed Princeton initiated. The Elis moved the ball back and forth, weaving in and out of Princeton defenders. Give-and-go play helped the Bulldogs gain control of the field.

Six minutes into the second half, Gavin tiptoed around a slide-tackling Tiger, deftly walked between two other defenders, and in a fury, fired a shot on goal that the Tigers stopped.

But the Elis’ burst of energy was not consistent enough to get a leg up on Princeton. Just two minutes later, a Tiger headed a floating corner kick just above the crossbar.

With 11 minutes remaining, the Tigers could have ended the game. Princeton snuck attacker Jen Hoy in behind the Elis’ defense, and she blasted a shot past Ames. The goal was called back, however, because the Tigers were off sides.

In spite of Princeton’s vicious rebound, Yale was not ready to give in to Princeton’s assault. With just over four minutes left in regulation, Gavin slid the ball up from just past midfield to Frannie Coxe ’15 who slammed a shot past Claire Pinciaro, but a Princeton defender stepped in behind the keeper to clear the ball out just before it rolled across the goal line.

After the first 90 minutes expired with a 1–1 tie, the game was sent into overtime. Half way through overtime, Hoy — the leading scorer in the Ivy League — exploded up the field with a teammate on a fastbreak and was about to cross a pass into the bottom corner of the net when she was taken out by a hustling Yale defender that slide-tackled her.

Just two minutes later, the Tigers threw the ball in, and Berkanish inadvertently ended the game with a deflected header.

“I think that everyone poured their heart and soul into the game, and I think that our preparation leading up to the game was to work as hard as we possibly can,” defender Shannon McSweeney ’15 said. “I think it showed on the field. Obviously we have things to work on going forward, but, like [Meredith] said, we are going to put this in our past.”

The Bulldogs will take on Harvard next Saturday at 4 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass.

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