There is good news and bad news for the women’s soccer team. The good news is they ended their four-game losing-streak. But the bad news is the already ailing Bulldogs suffered two more potentially devastating injuries.
Saturday afternoon at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium, Yale (3-4-1, 0-2-1 Ivy) posted a 0-0 double-overtime tie with the Dartmouth Big Green (2-2-1, 1-1-1). Captain Sara Ruiz ’02 suffered a severely twisted ankle in the game, and Ritha Belizaire ’02 left the field with a possibly broken foot.
Head coach Rudy Meredith has been juggling his lineups to find a combination of forwards that could generate more offense. Against Dartmouth, the Bulldogs created numerous scoring opportunities, but were unable to find the back of the net.
“We had three breakaways in the first overtime, and obviously we missed all three of them,” Meredith said. “It’s just a question of us really focusing when we get close to the goal.”
Despite Yale’s continued offensive woes, the Eli defense played another impressive game. Leading the way was goalkeeper Lindsay Sabel ’03, who tallied ten saves. Sabel was coming off a career high 13 saves against Hartford last Tuesday.
“She’s been really good both in terms of saves and talking to the defenders,” Jennie Garver ’03 said. “It’s really nice playing in front of her because if you do get beat, you know you have her back there.”
Sabel, however, attributed her impressive play to the strength of the Eli defense.
“I can only make saves on savable balls, and my defense isn’t letting [opponents] take shots that aren’t savable,” Sabel said.
Meredith noted the solid defense needs to be complemented by a productive offense, but injuries have somewhat tied his hands.
Ruiz and Belizaire join a long list of other Bulldogs hampered by injuries this season. Ruiz was already suffering from a pulled quadriceps muscle, and starting forward Chandra King ’03 came off the bench against Dartmouth because of a hip flexor injury. There are also several Elis, such as Lauren Gillies ’03 and Sarah Peterson ’02, who have been side-lined all season with various ailments.
“Other players are going to have to step up — maybe players who haven’t had an opportunity to play much or start,” Meredith said. “Some people are going to get a chance to prove themselves.”
Most of the injuries are to Yale offensive threats, compounding the Bulldogs’ problems. Ruiz centers the midfield, and Belizaire, a defender, has been playing up front in the absence of other Eli forwards. As a result of the battered offense, Yale has scored one goal in its last five games.
“With the injuries, we need depth,” Sabel said. “The versatility of any one member on a team is a huge strong point for us.”
In addition to the injuries, Yale players have also had to deal with the fatigue that comes from playing in overtime matches. Saturday’s contest was the Eli’s third overtime game this year.
“It’s physically demanding enough to play a 90-minute game,” Sabel said. “Your body gets to a certain point of numbness where you don’t really think about it and just go.”
Meredith said he will have to see what players are healthy before determining a game-plan for Wednesday’s game at Fairfield University (8-2).
“I won’t know [what to do] until I see how many healthy bodies we have in practice,” Meredith said. “I may have to do something totally different than what I would normally do against Fairfield.”
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