Competing on the heels of two devastating Ivy League losses, the women’s soccer team looked sharper than ever in a 4–0 rout of Marist on Monday night.
The Bulldogs (6–5–0, 1–2–0 Ivy) made the trip to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. shorthanded, as a few players were occupied with exams. Nevertheless, Yale came out firing on all cylinders, putting together as clean a win as the team has had all season.
“I think we all believed that this game was a must win despite it being a non-Ivy League game,” midfielder Geny Decker ’17 said. “We played quick one- and two-touch passes and knew where each other was on the field.”
Marist (7–7–2, 5–2–0 MAAC) came in on a three-game win streak, but its good form was quickly extinguished by the play of goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15.
With 10 saves, Wilcox earned her first shutout of the season — Yale’s first since Sept. 18, a 2–0 victory against Hartford.
“It’s nice to get a shutout because it’s been a while,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “That was one of Elise’s best games by far.”
Yale had been in a nasty trend of conceding first-half goals while simultaneously failing to score in the first 45 minutes entering Monday night’s game. That formula had been true for the past five games before the Bulldogs resolved both challenges at Marist.
The Yale onslaught was sparked by an unlikely source, as midfielder Juliann Jeffrey ’14 notched her first goal of the season in the 12th minute. Jeffrey handled a cross from forward Paula Hagopian ’16 before firing it past Marist goalkeeper Andrea Wicks in the lower left corner of the net.
Another first-time scorer on the season stepped up for Yale with just seven seconds left in the half. Midfielder Shannon Conneely ’16 scored by heading a ball that first deflected off the skull of captain and defender Shannon McSweeney ’14.
“Tonight we scored early and we didn’t have to chase any goals, which is a big deal,” Meredith said. “When you have to chase, you find yourself having to change formations to try and catch up.”
Comfortably ahead 2–0, a more familiar scoring threat struck for the Bulldogs in the second half. Forward Melissa Gavin ’15 again moved to the top of the Ivy League scoring charts by scoring not one, but two goals. Gavin pushed her total on the season to nine goals, creeping ahead of Harvard’s freshman sensation Margaret Purce, who has eight.
Gavin also secured some personal redemption in banging home a penalty kick in the 82nd minute. The success on the penalty try came just two days after Gavin missed a chance to tie the game with a penalty kick at just over six minutes to go against Dartmouth.
Hoping to ride the momentum of Monday’s performance, the Bulldogs return to Ivy League action, where every game is now a must-win, on Saturday.
“It was great to go on the road, mid-week, and get such a decisive win,” McSweeney said. “It’s good for confidence going into the weekend and to continue the Ivy season.”
Yale will host Cornell (7–4–1, 1–2–0 Ivy) Saturday night at Reese Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m.