It had been 12 years since Army defeated the Yale women’s soccer team, but Tuesday night in West Point, N.Y., the Black Knights were able to exorcise some Bulldog demons.
In its first game on the road, Yale (3-2, 0-1 Ivy) fell to Army (3-3-1) 2-1. Army juniors Kelly Schachtler and Shavonne Hennessy scored for the Black Knights and Erin Ruck ’05 scored for the Elis. All three goals came in the last 30 minutes of the game, indicating the equal level of play on the field.
“The game was dead even,” Yale head coach Rudy Meredith said. “It was a mental and physical battle the whole game.”
After playing a scoreless game for the first 60 minutes, Schachtler ended the scoring drought by heading in a corner kick from junior Emily Nay. Hennessy then added a goal of her own with a 35-yard blast that was deflected into the net by a Eli defender.
“It was a corner kick and our keeper punched it out and cleared it, but this girl wasn’t marked in the midfield and it ended up skimming off a defender’s head,” Ali Cobbett ’03 said. “It was pretty lucky.”
Down 2-0 with seven minutes to play, Ruck was able to cut the Army lead in half. She collected the rebound from her own corner kick and placed it in the back of the net from 25 yards out. The goal was Ruck’s first of her Yale career.
“It was a great goal,” Cobbett said. “It was a corner kick. [Ruck] was very composed. She had a really nice first touch to prepare it and then hit the upper-left [corner.]”
Many Yale players were frustrated by Army’s aggressive style.
“They were very, very aggressive,” Cobbett said. “They were even a little dirty. We’re the better team skill-wise, but any time any of us got the ball they were all over us.”
The Black Knights offensive strategy also caught the Eli defense off-guard.
“Every time [Army] had the ball they had really quick transition,” Ritha Belizaire ’02 said. “They liked playing through balls a lot and the defense had to adjust to that.”
While eight of Yale’s nine shots on goal came in the second half, Meredith did not feel there was a significant change of momentum or level of play between the two halves. He did note, however, that Yale seemed to dominate the last stretch of the game.
“I thought that the last 10 minutes of the game was the best we’ve played all season,” Meredith said. “They were the ones who got tired.”
The Bulldogs, who have dropped their last two games, will now have to gear up for archrival and soccer powerhouse Harvard (2-1, 1-0 Ivy).
“They don’t have any weak players,” Meredith said. “They have a couple players on their bench who would start for us. They don’t have any weak points we could exploit.”
The Yale defense is going to have to be in top form if it is going to shut down the formidable Harvard strikers. In particular, the Bulldogs will have to control senior co-captain Caitlin Costello and junior Joey Yenne. In the Crimson’s 4-0 victory over Brown, Costello had two goals and an assist, and Yenne tallied a goal and two assists.
Harvard’s potent offense will usually create many scoring opportunities for itself. Against Brown, the Crimson out-shot the Bears 19-4 and against Central Connecticut State University they put up 21 shots to the Blue Devils’ seven. The Crimson went on to win that game 10-1.
“We kind of want to use it as a starting over point,” Cobbett said. “These past two games were a big disappointment. Everyone’s excited to go out and have a good game. We have to play our best against Harvard.”
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