This game featured two potential Ivy League champions — but one had to fall.
The women’s soccer team (6-4-1, 1-2 Ivy) faced off against an evenly matched Dartmouth squad (6-2, 2-1 Ivy) last Saturday at Chase Field, only to fall 4-1. Two quick goals by the Big Green set the tone early, but even the most diligent efforts by the Elis fell short.
Dartmouth head coach Erica Walsh made an uncanny prediction before the game.
“We win games when we control the air game,” Walsh said.
That seemed to be the only difference between the two teams, and that was what beat the Bulldogs. Physically outmatched, the daughters of Eli lost the battle for control of loose balls in the air.
It was evident, right from the start, that the game would be very physical. Big Green forward Jen Murray scored early, off a cross in the ninth minute. This goal brought with it an intensity that never waned.
Less than seven minutes later, Dartmouth team captain Jessica Post recorded her fourth goal of the season, which put the tally at 2-0.
Quick goals seem to be key in soccer, and they were no less important in this game.
“The early goals were important for us,” Post said. “We came out ready to play and caught Yale off guard.”
One would think that a two-goal deficit would be enough to keep the Bulldogs at bay. But this was not the case in Hanover.
“At that point it would have been easy to give up and just go through the motions,” forward Lauren Gillies ’03 said. “But we really didn’t. We put up a fight just like it was tied at 0-0, as if [the second goal] hadn’t happened.”
With drive and determination, the Bulldogs battled back. League leading scorer Chandra King ’03 cut the deficit to 2-1 with her eighth goal of the season in the 24th minute of play.
The first half ended with the 2-1 score and the Bulldogs were still in the game. This was familiar territory for the Elis, as they had erased similar debts in their last few games. In their last game against Cornell, the Elis fell 1-0 early only to win 2-1, so they hoped to give a repeat performance in New Hampshire.
Yale came out of the locker room hungry and looking to score a quick goal to get back in the game. Gilles said they played like the next team to score would win the game.
Head coach Rudy Meredith shifted his team around and placed an extra forward on offense. Although this move made the Bulldogs’ backfield vulnerable, they desperately needed a goal.
“With two players in the back, we were taking a risk,” Gillies said. “But we had to take it at that point because if we were going to lose 3-1 or 8-1, it is still a loss not matter how it adds up.”
King, along with the other Eli forwards, hustled and put the Big Green back on its heels. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize on these efforts.
“We kept up the intensity for 90 minutes but came up short in the end,” Ritha Belizaire ’02 said.
After 20 minutes of fierce play, the Big Green scored its third goal. Dartmouth forward Jamie Lang, former high school teammate of Eli defender Lee Anne Jasper ’04, scored a header in the 65th minute of play. Teammate Post had an assist, number 20, which pulled her to within one of Dartmouth’s school record.
The two-point margin all but sealed Yale’s fate. Dartmouth put the nail in the coffin with a late goal in the 74th minute to settle the game, 4-1.
“I think we won because we wanted the victory more than them,” Post said
In the Bulldog net, Sarah Peterson ’02 played the first half and made two saves for her efforts, while Lindsay Stable ’03 finished out the game and contributed five saves.
The Bulldogs hope to rebound from this weekend’s performance against the University of Connecticut Wednesday. This would be an upset victory though, as UConn is ranked seventh nationally. Such a win would give the Elis the confidence they need for their rough upcoming schedule, which includes national powers like No. 1 Notre Dame.
“Although it was a big game, our season is not over,” Gillies said. “Anything can happen, especially against Notre Dame.”