WOMEN’S SOCCER: Bulldogs play with backs against the wall

Women's Soccer
Photo by Maria Zepeda.

Both Cornell and Yale will look to end a two-game Ivy League losing streak in Saturday night’s women’s soccer game.

Despite the similarities in conference records, the teams had vastly different results in their last games. Yale (6–5–0, 1–2–0 Ivy) just had its best victory of the season, a 4–0 dismantling of Marist on Monday night, whereas Cornell (7–4–1, 1–2–0) will look to pick itself up after falling to Harvard in a 7–2 rout.

In the victory over Marist, the Bulldogs jumped ahead of the Red Foxes and entered the halftime break up 2–0. Quick starts have not been part of Yale’s repertoire this year. Monday was Yale’s first time starting the second half with a lead since a win against Towson on Sept. 15. Forward Melissa Gavin ’15 will be expected to make things happen for the Eli offense if they wish to jump ahead early once again. She has scored nine of Yale’s 19 goals this season, making her the conference’s leading scorer thus far.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Monday’s win was Yale’s defensive effort. Head coach Rudy Meredith said that he lamented the fact that Yale has been giving up far too many goals this season. The shutout was the team’s third of the season and the first since Sept. 18 against Hartford.

Goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 earned the win on Monday night, but as has been the case all season, the starting goalie on Saturday will be decided after the week’s practices conclude. In conference play, goalie Rachel Ames ’16 has been the preferred option. Ames has been in net for all but half of the three Ivy games played.

“I can’t speak for the whole team, but from my perspective, each goalkeeper has done plenty this season to warrant starting,” midfielder Geny Decker ’17 said. “We are all behind whatever decisions the coaching staff makes.”

Whoever Meredith chooses will have to fend off Cornell forward Caroline Growney, whose five goals have paced the Big Red so far this year. Growney is a big reason why Cornell is off to its best start since 2003, when the team boasted a 7–3–2 mark. Meredith said he is wary that Yale may overlook Cornell, though, due to the Big Red’s lopsided loss to Harvard.

“We can’t do what Harvard did because we have different weapons,” Meredith said. “We can’t take them lightly because of the Harvard score. We have to look at the Columbia score when Cornell won and showed how confident a team they are.”

The last two games between Cornell and Yale have been close, with each game decided by just one goal. The Bulldogs, however, have escaped with victories each of the past two seasons over the Big Red.

Notably absent from action for the past two Bulldog games has been midfielder Frannie Coxe ’15, who has been suffering from an undisclosed injury. But despite the injury, she is still tied for the Ivy League lead with six assists. With all that is at stake in the Cornell game, Coxe said that she is itching to return to action.

“I’m extremely motivated to get back because every remaining game is a must-win, no exceptions,” Coxe said.

Coxe will be a game-time decision, though she said she’s optimistic about her chances.

With all these factors in play, Meredith is understandably concerned heading into Saturday’s make-or-break matchup.

“I’m more nervous about this game than a turkey before Thanksgiving,” Meredith said.

Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

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