Almost a decade ago, a rivalry forged between two of Yale’s top teams: men’s hockey and women’s soccer.

Last week, the annual soccer contest between the teams ended with a victory for the Eli skaters in an epic 3-1 battle.

“The girls never had a chance,” Chris Higgins ’05 said. “We were more motivated.”

The hockey players got goals from Jeff Hristovski ’06, Nate Murphy ’04, and Matthew Craig ’06. Laurel Karnes ’06 recorded the lone score for the women.

After Hristovski put the hockey team up 1-0, the two teams went into halftime with the men’s team on top.

“I only wanted to score one goal in the game because I didn’t want the men’s soccer coach hounding me to come out and play for them,” Hristovski said.

An inspirational halftime “sprinkler” dance from Joe Callahan ’05 fired up the men’s team, but the women refused to be shut out.

A free kick from Karnes eluded men’s goaltender Stacey Bauman ’03 to tie the game before goals from Craig and Murphy and stalwart defenseman Jeff Dwyer ’04 sealed the men’s victory.

As usual, neither team shied from physical contact with each other.

Forward Lindsay Weening ’06, who was involved in a physical altercation with Nick Shalek ’05, said the men’s team was trying to compensate for a short season.

“We had to let them win,” she said. “We felt bad for them because we made the NCAA tournament, but they didn’t.”

While some may have viewed the game as nothing more than a pickup contest between friends, Shalek disagreed, saying the men’s team’s victory had a larger sociopolitical significance.

“This is a great day,” Shalek said. “It’s a great day for opponents of Title IX, coverage of girl’s college basketball, and women’s suffrage.”

But women’s soccer player Jessie Berggren ’06 said despite the men’s team’s victory on the field, the hockey team seems more at home on the ice.

“It was really hard for us to stay focused,” she said. “We were too busy laughing at how funny they looked when they ran.”

–Katie Baker