On a night in which two teams squared off to play intense and aggressive soccer, the most emotional moment came before the first whistle was even blown.
The women’s soccer team (3-0-0, 0-0-0 Ivy) escaped with a 4-3 win at home over the Central Connecticut Blue Devils (0-4-1) last night. Juniors Chandra King and Ali Cobbett led Yale with two goals each in the contest.
Last night’s game was the first contest for the Bulldogs in 10 days, a lengthy hiatus caused by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. In recognition of those tragic events, the Yale and American flags flew at half-mast at the Soccer-Lacrosse stadium. And in a sign of solidarity, the Elis held hands during a moment of silence and the playing of the national anthem.
“There was definitely a tear in my eye,” head coach Rudy Meredith said.
Yale players were also emotional as the ceremony commenced.
“It was definitely necessary to take time out [before the game],” said King. “It was very emotional. In the first 10 minutes I was up in the air.”
Following the tribute, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start, as King scored in the sixth minute of play. The assist on that goal went to Cobbett, last week’s Ivy League Player of the Week. Cobbett has already racked up seven goals and two assists this season.
The two teams then went on to play almost 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, even though the Elis could have easily added to their tally. In the first half Yale had a number of close calls, including two headers and a shot that many in the stands believed went in. Coach Meredith, however, agreed with the referee’s call, but noted the impact of those missed opportunities.
“If that ball goes in, it’s 2-0 at halftime,” Meredith said. “That’s a big difference in a soccer game.”
The Blue Devils scored early in the second half on a free kick by sophomore defender Emma Wright. That goal opened up a scoring deluge for both teams and numerous changes in momentum.
“The free kick was a momentum shift,” Blue Devil head coach Mick D’Arcy said. “It gave us incentive to go forward. We dominated [the game] for a while after that.”
King quickly answered the Blue Devil score with her second goal at 64:38, assisted by Ritha Belizaire ’02. Cobbett then added two goals of her own, one assisted by King.
Cobbett’s first goal was a shot on an empty net after Central Connecticut’s goalie Sarah Decormier got tangled up with Maureen Metzger ’05. Metzger was credited with the assist.
While those three goals should have been enough to close out the game for the Elis, the Blue Devils refused to fold and scored two more goals in the last 10 minutes of play.
“We had a couple of mental lapses,” Meredith said. “We still need to work on fitness; we can’t give up bad goals.”
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs came away with their undefeated record intact as they start Ivy League play this weekend. Yale will host Cornell (1-0) Saturday at 4 p.m.
“Cornell is going to be very tough,” Meredith said. “They’ll be the best opponent we’ve played so far. I’m a little more concerned after this game — we shouldn’t have given up three goals when we scored four.”