It was a breakout weekend for Yale women’s soccer — and junior midfielder Ali Cobbett.
The Bulldogs (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) opened their season in impressive fashion, defeating the Ohio Bobcats (0-3) 3-1 Sunday afternoon and routing the Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-3) Friday night 5-0. Cobbett led her team to victory with a total of five goals and one assist in the two games.
Four Bulldogs got in on the scoring action this weekend. Captain Sarah Ruiz ’02 scored one goal, while Cobbett scored two more in the Elis’ win yesterday. Cobbett started her amazing weekend with a hat trick, and Ritha Belizaire ’02 and Katherine Ling ’03 each netted a goal in Yale’s shutout of Sacred Heart.
Creating scoring opportunities for her teammates is nothing new to Cobbett. Heading into this season, the junior had scored only two goals but notched seven assists in her career. Because of injuries to key goal scorers such as Lauren Gillies ’03, head coach Rudy Meredith asked Cobbett to step up her own offensive production. Following this weekend’s two contests, Cobbett had increased her career goal total to seven.
“I’ve known Ali since she was 10. She’s always had the ability [to score], and we’re trying to bring that out of her,” Meredith said.
Cobbett’s lone assist of the weekend came on a beautiful feed to Ruiz at 32:65 against Ohio. Yale created excellent scoring opportunities throughout the game, outshooting the Bobcats 17-10. Cobbett’s two goals were a penalty kick at 39:75 and an unassisted goal after dribbling though two Bobcat defenders at 53:82.
Ohio’s only goal of the game, and the only shot to get by Yale goalies Lindsay Sabel ’03 and Sarah Walker ’05 this weekend, was scored by junior midfielder Rachel Najjar. Following the game, Najjar voiced the Bobcats’ frustration on offense.
“We didn’t get the goals in. We couldn’t put it in the net,” she said.
On Friday, the Pioneers dug themselves an early grave as Yale scored four of its five goals in the first half.
“In the first 10 to 15 minutes we didn’t get the marking done,” Sacred Heart head coach Joe Barroso said.
While Meredith had voiced concern about playing two games in three days, Najjar noted that the Bulldogs seemed quicker than the Bobcats.
The Bulldogs’ energy was helped by Meredith’s ability to rest key players in the 5-0 rout of the Pioneers.
“It’s a situation where everybody can play. I was trying to rest players. We had the luxury to do that,” Meredith said.
Resting veterans also meant that freshmen got some valuable game experience, including goalkeeper Sarah Walker, who had a save in each contest. With so many injuries, freshman contributions will be a key to the Bulldogs’ continued success.
“The freshmen have stepped up and adjusted well,” Belizaire said.
Looking ahead, the Elis next host Providence Friday, and while this weekend was a confidence booster for the team, they understand there is still a long way to go. Meredith listed conditioning, organization on defense, composure and decision making as some areas in need of improvement.
“We need to stay positive, keep communicating, working hard and it’ll all come together,” Belizaire said.
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