With a 2-0 win over the University of Hartford Saturday, the Yale women’s soccer team is looking pretty good.
“We are playing like we are capable of playing,” said Chandra King ’03.
The Bulldogs (3-1-1, 0-1 Ivy) dominated play from the opening whistle, rarely relinquishing possession.
While the Yale women were effective at executing sequences early in the first half, they were unable to finish them. The first 45 minutes saw a return to the woes the Elis hoped they had overcome with their 6-1 rout over Holy Cross. At halftime, the score remained 0-0. Yale’s frustrating inability to produce a goal, however, did not sap its optimism.
“We weren’t just hanging on. We were dominating,” captain Ali Cobbett ’03 said. “We knew we could win.”
The Bulldogs once again emerged as the aggressors in the second half. Rather than relying on the long ball, however, they played short passes and through-balls that left them with several openings.
“With Hartford playing four flat on defense, we were able to play more through balls and get more shots,” said King, whose blazing speed kept the Hartford defense on its heels.
King, brilliant at beating defenders off the dribble, blasted a shot that was just wide of the post. Then a few minutes later, King found Lauren Gillies ’03, whose point-blank shot deflected off a Hartford defender back toward midfield.
The Bulldogs were finally able to capitalize in the 69th minute. Amid a flurry of shots at the Hartford goal, Laurel Karnes ’06 placed the ball inside the left post to grab the lead for the Bulldogs.
“The freshmen are unbelievable. They come in and always make a difference,” said Cobbett.
The Hawks (3-3-0) never took off in the game. Led by April Suida ’06, Jennie Garver ’03 and Maureen Metzger ’05, the Yale defense silenced Jeanette Akurland, the Hawks’ scoring leader, and the rest of the Hartford offense.
Goalie Lindsay Sabel ’03, the unsung hero of the squad, recorded her second shutout of the year.
“The defense had a great game, winning every ball and doing an awesome job,” said King. “Offense starts from the back of the field.”
At 78:15, defense directly translated into offense when Cobbett passed the ball to defender Lee Ann Jasper ’04, who found the back of the net and extended Yale’s lead to 2-0.
The win over Hartford, No. 4 in the Northeast, was the first ever against the Hawks for the Elis. However, according to Cobbett, the game has an even greater significance in the season’s broader scheme.
“It was awesome. It was more than beating Hartford,” she said. “Finally, we beat a good team, and it is proof that we can play with and beat the best.”
The Bulldogs’ strong performance Saturday has elevated them to a higher level of play — to the upper echelon of women’s soccer.
“We didn’t beat Hartford by chance. We played really well the entire game. We are winning games that we should win and more,” King said. “We are at the next level.”
The women’s soccer team hosts Quinnipiac on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.