Jennie Garver ’03 has her fingers crossed that Friday’s 2-0 loss at Brown was not the last game of her collegiate career.
“Obviously we don’t want to go out on a loss,” Garver said. “For the seniors, the game had a special significance.”
The loss snaps the women’s soccer team’s six-game winning streak and weakens the Bulldogs’ chances of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Yale has never made the tourney before.
Even with a win over Brown, Yale would not have been assured of a nod from the selection committee, which chooses the 64-team field tonight.
“We weren’t even thinking about that being the last game,” Garver said. “We didn’t expect to lose.”
The Bulldogs (11-4-2, 3-3-1 Ivy) just could not figure out the Bears’ (6-9-2, 1-5-1) unorthodox 4-5-1 formation.
“There were a lot of people back behind the ball, and it was hard to get good looks,” Garver said. “We were also outnumbered in the midfield.”
Brown’s formation has just one forward, cramming everyone into the backfield.
Despite offensive troubles and the windy conditions — which hurt the Bulldogs’ passing game — Yale headed into halftime with a scoreless tie.
But the Bulldogs were not able to get their act together in the second half.
In the 78th minute, Yale was called for a hand ball in the box. Julie Herrold converted the penalty kick, drilling it into the lower right corner for the game-winner. Three minutes later, Caitlin Carey scored on a breakaway for an insurance goal.
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to narrow the lead with their own penalty kick in 85th minute. But the Bears’ goalkeeper Sarah Gervais saved Chandra King’s ’03 shot and a point-blank follow-up to preserve the shutout.
“We knew that we couldn’t take Brown for granted,” Garver said. “We were confident, but we showed up to play. It wasn’t one of our better games.”
According to head coach Rudy Meredith, Yale is competing with teams such as Harvard and Boston College for a spot in the NCAA tournament. Having beaten the Cantabs 3-2 Oct. 19, the Bulldogs should have the edge.
“We beat Harvard, and Harvard beat BC,” Garver said. “It’s hard to think about it in those terms, though.”
The Bulldogs will gather as a team tonight and watch on television as their fate unfolds. But until then, they only can wonder if on Friday they bid their season-long goal of reaching the postseason goodbye.
Hopefully for Garver and the rest of the women’s soccer team, that isn’t the case.