Someone should remind Laurel Karnes ’06 she is just a freshman.
Karnes, who now leads the team in goals and points, found the back of the net twice as the Yale women’s soccer team (6-1-1, 1-1 Ivy) routed Central Connecticut (7-4-0) Wednesday 5-2 at the Yale Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. The victory was Yale’s fifth in a row.
“She hasn’t been playing like a freshman,” captain Ali Cobbett ’03 said of Karnes, who was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Sunday. And that announcement came before Wednesday’s performance.
Opening the Bulldogs’ scoring attack in the third minute, Karnes volleyed a cross from Chandra King ’03 into the goal to put Yale ahead 1-0. But the lead would change sides three times before the end of the first half.
“When we scored in the second minute, it gave us a false sense that the game was under control,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “We also had to make some adjustments.”
The Blue Devils’ up-tempo transition game led to several momentum shifts and Bulldog defensive lapses, two of which proved costly.
“Their transition was very good,” Meredith said. “Their strikers were constantly moving and found the holes in our defense.”
A Yale misclearance at 21:54 left an open net, which Central’s Kelly Shimmin capitalized on to even the score. Shimmin, the Blue Devils’ leading goal-scorer, fired a free kick inside the post minutes later to give Central the 2-1 lead. But relinquishing the lead only galvanized the Bulldogs.
“We knew we couldn’t lose to Central. [The goal] fired us up,” Cobbett said.
At 29:10, King sent a through-ball to Jessica Berggren ’06, who blasted a pretty shot that deflected off Central goalie Sabrina Mariani into the goal.
Yale took the lead for good in the 35th minute. King, brilliant at beating defenders off the dribble, led a one-on-one breakaway and nestled the ball into the net.
“The first half we were pretty on and played our chances,” Central Connecticut head coach Mick D’Arcy said. “But we couldn’t be happy heading into halftime down 3-2 when we were up 2-1 at one point.”
The Bulldogs got their act together in the second half and never allowed the Blue Devils back in the game.
“At halftime, [Yale assistant coach Robin Copperthwaite] suggested a switch in defense from zone to man-to-man,” Meredith said. With the adjustment, Yale silenced the Blue Devils’ scoring attack and controlled play in the second half with their signature passing and set plays.
“It comes down to putting away our chances,” Meredith said. “We’ve outshot almost all our opponents. We just need to finish.”
The Bulldogs scored twice more in the second half, stretching the lead to 5-2.
King sprinted down the left wing and dumped a pass to Jamie Ortega ’06, who dribbled around the defender and unloaded. The ball bounced off the crossbar, but Ortega recovered possession and put it away for Yale’s fourth goal of the night. At 64:07, Karnes fittingly finished off the Bulldog scoring assault when her shot from the 18-yard line skipped by a diving Ashley Ferra, who had replaced Mariani as Central’s goaltender.
Karnes now has scored five goals and has 11 total points on the season.
Yale next travels to Storrs to take on No. 10 University of Connecticut on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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