WOMEN’S SOCCER | Yale falls to in-state rivals

The Elis fell to Sacred Heart at home on Friday and then succumbed to Fairfield on Sunday.
The Elis fell to Sacred Heart at home on Friday and then succumbed to Fairfield on Sunday. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The women’s soccer team suffered a disappointing weekend, falling on Friday to Sacred Heart at home by a score of 2–1 and then succumbing to Fairfield on the road by a score of 1–0.

The weekend offered the Bulldogs (4–3–0, 0-0 Ivy) a chance to head into the Ivy League portion of their schedule with a four-game winning streak, but the two Connecticut universities put a hitch into those plans. On Friday, Yale lost for the first time in 12 meetings historically to the Pioneers (3–6–0, 0–0 NEC). Sacred Heart attacked early and often, firing off the first 10 shots of the game. Dana Cosmedy put the Pioneers on the board first in the 19th minute, placing Sacred Heart ahead for good.

In the 45th minute, Sacred Heart captain and leading goal-scorer Kristin Verrette tacked on an insurance goal. The goal came off a costly turnover midfield, further demonstrating the Bulldogs’ challenges in maintaining possession that have been a talking point for head coach Rudy Meredith throughout this season.

“We are just giving up bad goals,” Meredith said. “Part of it is we don’t get into a rhythm because we give the ball away too much, which causes counterattacks, which leads to these sort of goals.”

The 2–0 deficit proved to be too much to overcome for the Elis.

Forward Melissa Gavin ’15 connected with her fifth goal of the season in the 80th minute off an assist from forward Georgiana Wagemann ’15. The rally ceased there, though, and the Pioneers ran out the clock and walked away with the victory.

Sunday’s match against Fairfield (4–4–0, 0–0 MAAC) included many of the same issues that were on display against Sacred Heart. Just as in Friday’s match, Yale surrendered a goal in the last minute of the first half as Fairfield’s Brenna Brown found the back of the net. The trend is not one due to a lack of execution, but rather concentration, according to Meredith.

“It just demonstrates a complete lack of concentration,” Meredith said. “It’s just inexcusable to give up a goal in the last minute of a half.”

Once again, a more energized and productive Bulldog team showed up for the second half, but the equalizer never came. Midfielder Frannie Coxe ’15 nearly connected in the 90th minute, but her shot deflected off the crossbar. Coxe attributes the lack of offensive punch in the first half of games especially to the inability to keep possession of the ball that has haunted Yale all season.

“In order to be more of a threat offensively early in the game, we need to get numbers forward and connect up top,” Coxe said. “Rudy [Meredith] always stresses the need to maintain possession while transitioning into the attack and praises goals scored off combination plays. If we can connect early on and play smart, the offense will be able to get out to a quicker start.”

Yale has scored only three goals in the first half of matches this season, as opposed to eight in the second half.

As this slip-up came during the non-conference portion of the team’s schedule, it has no direct impact on the Elis’ Ivy League chances. Meredith acknowledged that next week’s matchup against Princeton must have been on the minds of the players.

“It’s easy to say you aren’t thinking about them,” Meredith said. “But you know in the back of their mind, they were thinking about Princeton.”

Captain and defender Shannon McSweeney ’14 felt as though the losses were not due to overlooking their opponents, but rather a focus on fine tuning some aspects of Yale’s performance that need improvement.

“Although it’s never desirable to lose, it’s better at this point to sort out the areas we need to fix and improve from there,” McSweeney said.

Yale opens up Ivy League play this Saturday at Princeton (3–1–2, 0–0 Ivy). Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.

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