On Saturday, the women’s soccer team will take a stab at containing Pennsylvania’s Katy Cross at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
Cross, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, leads the league so far this fall in shots, total points, points per game, total goals, and goals per game. She is a leading candidate for the conference’s Player of the Year.
Head coach Rudy Meredith knows Yale (8-3-1, 2-2 Ivy) will have to remove the sophomore standout from the scoring scheme in order to defeat the Quakers (5-6-2, 1-1-2).
“Bottom line, we must stop [Cross],” Meredith said. “Not many teams have been able to shut her down.”
Throughout the season, teams have struggled to contain Cross. But goalkeeper Lindsay Sabel ’03, drawing on last year’s success, is certain the Bulldogs will be able to contend with her.
“Last year, we played straight up defense and man-marked Cross, and she was a non-factor in the game,” Sabel said. “We plan to do the same this year.”
Penn beat Yale 2-1 last October, but Cross did not score in that contest.
The Yale backfield, paced by Sabel, has been rock-solid. Coming off a brilliant performance against Fairfield, where the defense held the Stags to two shots, Yale looks to force the Quakers to find scoring options other than Cross.
Sabel said Saturday’s matchup will be a test of sheer determination and desire.
“Penn is a good team, and they haven’t had trouble scoring,” Sabel said. “It will come down to who wants it more.”
Riding a two-game winning streak into this week and rising to No. 4 in the Northeast regional rankings, the Bulldogs are as confident as ever.
“We’re going to win,” Sabel said. “There’s no question. We have to.”
The Elis know that they have to win the remainder of their games to receive consideration for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
“All the next five games are must-win if we want to keep our up our hopes of making the NCAAs,” Sabel said. “But we are going to take one goal at a time, one half at a time, and one game at time.”