It was an all too familiar story for the women’s soccer team Wednesday night: strong defense, aggressive play and quick ball movement. But, once again, the Bulldogs were missing that extra spark needed to put the ball in the back of the net.
For the fourth time in six games, Yale (3-5-1, 0-2-1 Ivy) fell to its opponent 1-0. Wednesday’s defeat came at the hands of the Fairfield Stags (9-2), who scored with less then three minutes to go in the game. Lindsey Pulito ’02 scored the game’s only goal from the left side of the box, after receiving a cross from classmate Kelly Chapple.
“We strung a couple of passes together in front of the 18 [yard-line] and played [Pulito] out wide,” Fairfield head coach Maria Piechocki said.
Up until that point, the Bulldogs had played excellent defense, ultimately holding the Stags to only six shots on goal.
“[The goal] was a mental lapse in the game,” Erin Ruck ’05 said. “We were working so hard in the game and one lapse kills us.”
The Bulldogs had numerous opportunities to score, including a shot that hit the crossbar late in the first half and a corner-kick that was deflected toward the goal and barely cleared by a Stag defender.
“They were taking good shots, but they were not finding the mark,” Piechocki said. “It was a little bit unlucky.”
The Elis are perplexed by their inability to find the back of the net.
“We’re extremely frustrated because we know we played so well,” Ruck said. “It seems like a mental block. We keep knocking at the door but we can’t push it in.”
Yale controlled the tempo for much of the game, out-hustling and out-maneuvering the Stags.
“Yale’s a fast and skilled team,” Pulito said. “They had so many corner kicks and we had to keep defending and defending. We had to work as a team to get through their defense.”
Injuries to key Eli starters once again forced head coach Rudy Meredith to juggle his lineups. Captain Sara Ruiz ’02 and Ritha Belizaire ’02 were sidelined Wednesday night with a twisted ankle and a bruised foot respectively. They are both considered day-to-day.
The Bulldogs will have an opportunity to break out of their scoring slump when they face SUNY-Stony Brook on Long Island Saturday afternoon. Stony Brook comes into the game with an 0-8-2 record, averaging just 0.6 goals per game. But Meredith is quick to note that none of that matters unless the Elis up their offensive production. Yale’s 1.44 goals per game average is deceptive, since 12 of the team’s 13 goals this season came in the first three games.
“Anybody’s going to be good against us if we don’t score,” Meredith said.
Meredith has yet to formulate a new game plan for the upcoming game, commenting that he is at a loss for how to fix the teams’ offensive woes.
“It’s a Catch-22 — if we play offensive minded, we give up goals,” Meredith said. “If we play defensive minded, we don’t score. We’ve tried everything — at this point I don’t know [what to do.]”