The women’s soccer team is developing into an offensive powerhouse — and opposing teams are taking notice.
So when Yale (10-3-2, 2-2-1 Ivy) took on Wagner (4-13-2) Wednesday at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium, the Seahawks’ wisely started nine defenders and just two offensive players.
And their strategy effectively strangled Yale for the first 45 minutes. But then the Bulldogs erupted for eight second half goals, blanking the Seahawks, 9-0.
With the victory, the Bulldogs now are unbeaten in their last five games.
“We played with more low pressure in the first half,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “Once we scored, we applied something like a full-court press, and the whole field opened up.”
At 8:07, Ali Cobbett ’03 pushed the ball right, turned, and booted a shot from the 18-yard-line that bounced off the crossbar. But Chandra King ’03 knocked in the rebound for the game-winner.
Heavy defensive play, hot goalkeeping by Dana Honcharuk, and some good luck held back the Bulldogs for the remainder of the half. Wagner headed into the break down by a mere goal.
But pulling crosses, give-and-go’s, behind-the-backs and through-balls out of its passing bag of tricks, Yale ran the Seahawks’ defense ragged in the second half.
Lee Ann Jasper ’04, who created space for herself all night with feints and other fancy footwork, connected with Laurel Karnes ’06 in the 53rd minute to extend the lead to 2-0. Karnes leads the Bulldogs in scoring with eight goals.
Less than two minutes later, King sprinted down the left wing and dumped the ball to Lauren Gillies ’03, who blasted it past Honcharuk.
At 69:47, Vanessa Resnick ’05 began her 15-minute tear of torrid play. In a scramble at the Seahawks’ goal, Resnick nestled the ball into the back of the net to put the Bulldogs up 5-0. Later, she beat the goalkeeper to the far side for her second goal and completed the hat trick in the 84th minute when her 18-yarder snuck under the crossbar.
“Vanessa [Resnick] is a proven goal-scorer,” Meredith said. “Just get her the ball, and she can score.”
Meredith said that last year, Resnick had surgery on her calves and is now just getting back to form.
Jamie Ortega ’06, Jennie Garver ’03 and Eleni Benson ’05 contributed a goal apiece as well to the crushing Bulldog performance.
By midway through the half, Bulldogs were running down field with their hands raised high, calling for the ball. Everyone wanted to get in on the scoring action, even goalkeeper Lindsay Sabel ’03, who picked up two assists.
Wagner never mounted a serious threat the entire game. For most of the first half, the Seahawks concentrated on clearing the ball from the backfield; any offense was an afterthought. Even when they emerged from their defensive crouch after the break, the Seahawks only managed to get off one shot.
Sarah Walker ’05 earned her first start in goal on the season, and though she did not have to make a save, she earned the shutout.
“It was a good game for us,” Meredith said. “It was not physically or mentally draining.”
Yale will face a much tougher opponent in its final home stand when it hosts Columbia tomorrow at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
“It’s going to be tough battle,” Meredith said. “A really tough battle.”
Coming off a 1-0 loss to Dartmouth, the Lions (4-8-2, 0-3-2) will look to earn their first conference win of the season. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will look to extend their unbeaten streak to six games and improve their chances for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
“For us, bottom line, we need a ‘W.’ I don’t care if it’s 3-0, or 3-2, we need to win,” Meredith said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes, even if that means changing our game plan or style.”