With dreams of a title long gone and little weighing on this weekend’s results, all that is left to do for the women’s soccer team is to play for each other and for two more wins.
Coming off a rather disappointing effort at Columbia last Saturday, Yale (7–6–1, 2–3–1 Ivy) will have a chance to send its seniors out in style Friday night in the first of two games against Brown this weekend. Hosting the Bears (8–6–1, 3–2–1 Ivy) in the first half of a home-and-home series, Yale can overtake the Brown in the standings with a victory. Sunday’s matchup at Brown is considered a nonconference game and will not count toward the Ivy League standings.
More significant than the possible third-place Ivy League finish is how seniors, like captain and defender Shannon McSweeney ’14, will conclude their time at Reese Stadium.
“It would be great to go out with a win in front of our families and friends,” McSweeney said. “It would just be a really nice way to celebrate our Yale careers.”
Four seniors in addition to McSweeney will be honored for their dedication to Bulldog soccer and for representing Yale to the best of their abilities. Those four seniors are midfielder Juliann Jeffrey ’14, defender Anna McMahon ’14, forward/midfielder Jessica Schloth ’14 and defender Katie Underwood ’14.
For the celebration to be as sweet as possible, though, the Bulldogs would need to bounce back to knock off the Bears. The Bears are in the midst of a skid of their own, having fallen 1–0 in consecutive games to Harvard and then Penn.
Head coach Rudy Meredith said that he recognized the importance of senior night, but was also adamant about the importance of winning the final conference game of the season.
“You want to do the best you can on Friday so we can finish as high as we possibly can in the league,” Meredith said. “Being senior night and the last home game, we are definitely going to go all-in on Friday and see what we can do to get that ‘W.’”
Whether goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 or her counterpart Rachel Ames ’16, who is recovering from a concussion, is in net, Yale’s defense will have to pay extra attention to forward Chloe Cross.
While the Bears are at the bottom of the charts in scoring, Cross has contributed six of the team’s 15 goals. Cross’ situation is not much different from that of Yale forward Melissa Gavin ’15.
Gavin has established herself as one of the premier goal-scorers in the Ivy League, scoring ten of Yale’s 22 goals this season. With two games yet to play, Gavin has a chance to surpass Harvard’s Margaret Purce as the leading scorer in the conference. Purce has 11 goals, but only one remaining match to improve her total.
Meredith has said that this record is one that he does not mind going for, since goals from Gavin usually result in victories.
“If she scores two or three goals, we’re probably going to win,” Meredith said. “She can score five or six goals. I don’t care, as long as we win.”
A Gavin goal has generally been a positive indicator for the Bulldogs. In the eight games in which Gavin has scored at least one goal, Yale is 5–3–0.
Sunday’s match at Brown will be a wild card, as much of the strategy and lineup will be dictated by Friday’s performance, according to Meredith. He added that if the seniors can go out with a bang on Friday night, the Bulldogs may give some younger and less experienced players a greater opportunity to demonstrate their skills in Providence.
Kickoff against Brown is slated for 7 p.m. Friday night at Reese Stadium.