For the women’s soccer team, finally there is such a thing as poetic justice.
After dropping seven games this season by only one goal, the Bulldogs finally got to turn the tables on their opponents. In its last game of the season, Yale (7-8-2, 2-3-2 Ivy) defeated Princeton 1-0. The Eli victory forced the Tigers (13-2-2, 5-1-1 Ivy) to share the Ivy League championship with Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania.
Liz Jarchow ’03 came off the bench to score the game’s only goal with 1:03 left to play in the first half. Ritha Belizaire ’02 took a free kick from the 18-yard line that Jarchow one-touched past Princeton goalkeeper Catherine Glenn.
“[The starters were] working hard, so we needed to give them a breather,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “So Liz went in the game for the last 10 minutes of the first half. She made the right run and then a good first touch [for the goal].”
Jarchow was one of many Yale players to succumb to injury this season. After finishing fifth on the team in scoring in 2000, Jarchow missed multiple games this year because of a torn hamstring. Meredith said that by the end of the season, Jarchow was still only about 70 percent healthy.
Of the Bulldogs seven victories this season, six of them came when Yale scored first. Saturday’s game was no exception, as Yale was able to take the 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“[The second half is] nerve racking, but [when you’re winning] you don’t have the additional pressure on you that you have to score,” Meredith said.
The Tigers came into Saturday’s contest with the chance to clinch sole possession of the Ivy League title. But Jarchow’s goal along with a solid performance by the defense thwarted Princeton’s plans. Lindsay Sabel ’03, who finished the season second in the league in saves per game, had 10 stops in the match.
“It was pretty equal on chances in front of the goal,” Jarchow said. “Sabel pretty much kept us in the game.”
In addition to Princeton’s 17 shots on goal, the team had a number of dangerous crosses into the box. While the Bulldog defense had struggled to clear aerial balls inside the penalty box during the season, the Elis had no such trouble against the Tigers.
“Our ability in the air was really amazing last night,” Jarchow said. “They had a lot of nice crosses, but our defense was really unstoppable.”
While the Tigers will continue on to the NCAA tournament, Saturday’s game marked the end of Yale’s season — and the final time seniors Belizaire, Megan Strenski, Sarah Peterson and captain Sara Ruiz will take the field in Eli Blue.
“We went out there with the hope that we could compete with the team that won the Ivies,” Jarchow said. “It was amazing for [the seniors] that in the last game of the season we finally came through on that.”
The Bulldogs did not lose a game by more than two goals this season, and many of those close loses came against national powerhouses such as Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut. Princeton, No. 18 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas poll, is the first nationally ranked team Yale defeated this year.
“The whole season we lost a lot of games that we probably could have won and should have won,” Jarchow said. “[The win over Princeton] was finally a tangible realization that we can compete with these people. We ended a fairly disappointing season on a really good note.”
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