In the biggest game of its history, the women’s soccer team came up just short.
Yale lost to the University of Nebraska 1-0 Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament. The loss ended the Bulldogs’ record-setting season in which they finished with a 12-5-2 record.
Nationally ranked No. 18 Nebraska scored the only goal of the game in the 57th minute off a 25-yard shot from Christine Latham, a National Player of the Year finalist. The Cornhuskers now stand at 16-5-3.
Sunday’s match — which followed Yale’s first NCAA tournament game in the program’s 25-year history — was played at Villanova University.
It was the second tight game in a row for the Bulldogs, who upset nationally ranked No. 20 Villanova 1-0 Friday on penalty kicks in Yale’s NCAA tournament debut.
Head coach Rudy Meredith had a gut feeling the Villanova match would come down to a penalty shootout and made the team practice penalty shots for three days before Yale’s tournament opener. His intuition paid off when Sabel saved two penalty kicks to give the Bulldogs the victory.
“I just had to relax,” Sabel said after the shootout. “The pressure is on the shooter to score. They’re supposed to score.”
In stark contrast to Friday’s game — which featured 49 shots on goal — Yale and Nebraska combined for just 22 attempts. The closest of the Bulldog’s eight shots came in the middle of the first half, when captain Ali Cobbett’s ’03 20-yard shot flew just high of the crossbar.
Both goalkeepers made five saves on the game, bringing Lindsay Sabel’s ’03 tournament total to 18. Nebraska goalie Erin Miller recorded her second consecutive shutout for the Cornhuskers, who beat Hartford 2-0 in the first round.
The loss marks the end of an era for Yale, which will graduate seven seniors. Three of them — Cobbett, Chandra King ’03 and Jennie Garver ’03 — were named first team All-Ivy last week.
“Everyone’s been so dedicated,” Cobbett said after Friday’s match. “All of [the seniors] are leaders on the field. We all have the same goal.”
Meredith said he was proud of his team’s effort, and that Yale showed it could compete at the NCAA level.
“This is a very special team,” Meredith said Friday.