On Wednesday night at Reese Stadium, the women’s soccer team came away with a clean, well-played 2–0 victory over the visiting Hartford Hawks.
Yale improved its record to 4–1–0 (0–0 Ivy), marking the best five-game start to a season for the Elis since 2004. Hartford, meanwhile, fell to 3–2–3 (0–0 AEC), losing for the first time in its past four games.
The Hawks came into the game riding the hot hands of goalkeeper Jessica Jurg, last week’s America East Co-Rookie of the Week. Jurg had not allowed a goal in the past three games since taking over in net.
After an uneventful first half, the Bulldogs broke through and put an end to Jurg’s scoreless streak. In the 58th minute, captain and defender Shannon McSweeney ’14 drove home a header off a corner kick from midfielder Frannie Coxe ’15. For the captain, it was the first goal of her career.
“As a center back, you don’t really get that many opportunities on offense,” McSweeney said. “It really showed how everyone is doing their absolute best all over the field, no matter their position.”
Goal number two was eerily similar as a corner kick from Coxe once again led to a Bulldog header. This time it was midfielder Muriel Battaglia ’15 who connected, scoring her first goal of the season as well. For Coxe, the two assists on the night pushed her total for the year to five. The headers came as a pleasant surprise to head coach Rudy Meredith.
“There have been seasons that we’ve gone without scoring two head goals all season,” Meredith said. “I probably had an afro the last time we scored two goals in the air.”
Defensively, Yale had a strong performance which was good enough for its second shutout of the season, with the opening-game win against Stony Brook being the only other. The shutout was especially pleasing to Meredith after the Bulldogs allowed 11 goals over two games this past weekend.
“I was a little worried defensively after the goals we gave up this past weekend,” Meredith said. “Being able to get a shutout here was a good step in the right direction for us.”
Goalkeeping duties were once again split as Elise Wilcox ’15 made two saves in the first half before relenting her position to Rachel Ames ’16 to start the second half. Ames faced little pressure, not having to make a single save, as each Hartford threat was thwarted by the Elis’ defense.
Yale has a chance to continue its hot start to the season this weekend with a pair of in-state matchups. The Bulldogs host Sacred Heart (2–5–0, 0–0 NEC) at Reese Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. and will then make the short trip to Fairfield (3–3–0, 0–0 MAAC) to play Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.