Ali Cobbett ’03 found a good time to score her first goal of the season.

Cobbett netted the game winner at 44:37 to lead the women’s soccer team (9-4-1, 2-2-1 Ivy) Sunday to a victory over Providence College (7-8-2) 1-0 in Providence, R.I.

With time running down in the first half, April Siuda ’06 dumped a loose ball down to Cobbett, who beat the goalkeeper with a hard shot on the ground.

“[Cobbett] is such a good player,” Siuda said. “She has worked really hard all year. Finally, she got to finish one of her chances. We were so happy for her.”

Cobbett, who led the team in scoring last year, has transformed herself into a play-maker this autumn. So far this fall, she leads Yale in assists.

“Ali’s job at center midfielder is to distribute the ball, and she does that exceptionally well,” Liz Jarchow ’03 said. “It’s an added bonus when she scores a goal.”

Playing center midfield could not be more fitting for Cobbett. The senior has been central to this year’s success, unassumingly steadying the team on both the offensive and defensive ends.

Her gutsy performance against the University of Pennsylvania Saturday helped Yale hold the Quakers to a mere goal.

The Bulldogs returned to action Sunday on only one day’s rest after the double-overtime Penn 1-1 tie. But rain slowed the game’s pace, to the Bulldogs’ advantage.

“We were tired. Play was slow, so we realized we had to play possession really well, and the hard work paid off,” Jarchow said.

Providence also tested the depth of the Bulldogs’ bench.

“People off the bench stepped up,” Jarchow said. “We were tired, and they were playing very aggressively. Everyone put in 110 percent, and as a team, we were able to get through the game.”

Play was fairly even in the first half. But Cobbett’s goal with 18 seconds left on the clock allowed the Bulldogs to settle back and stifle the Friars.

“The mentality changed, and the pressure was removed,” Jarchow said.

Lindsay Sabel ’03 recorded her sixth shutout of the season.

With wins against Pennsylvania and Providence this weekend, Yale moved up to number three in the regional northeast rankings. The team remains confident it will receive consideration for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

“Everything’s looking really good,” Siuda said. “Things are looking real promising.”

The Elis can sense the postseason excitement.

“We have a very good chance to make the NCAAs,” Jarchow said. “This is the first year in a long time that we’ve had a chance.

But the Bulldogs still have three games remaining in the regular season schedule — and they are all must-wins if the Elis hope for a postseason.

“We have to go into each game individually,” Jarchow said. “We know we have to win the rest of our games.”

Yale next hosts Wagner College at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium Wednesday.