The Yale women’s soccer team put the brakes on a four-game losing streak and returned to their winning ways on Tuesday night with a 2-0 defeat of Quinnipiac at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
The Bulldogs (6-4-0, 0-2-0 Ivy) struck early against Quinnipiac (3-7-1). With the game barely two minutes old, Eli midfielder Lindsey Weening ’06 settled a pass from forward Mimi Macauley ’07 in front of the Quinnipiac goal and fired a shot into the lower-right corner of the net. The goal marked the end of an 360-plus minute scoring drought during which the Elis dropped four straight games.
“We finally got a goal under our belt,” Macauley said. “I think we should have scored more, and we’re still struggling to finish our chances. But that goal definitely calmed us down for the rest of the game and allowed us to play with a lot more composure.”
The Eli offense was on the attack early and often, firing off 12 shots in the first half while holding Quinnipiac to just two. The Bulldogs padded their lead early in the second half when, in the 49th minute of play, Christina Huang ’07 headed in a goal on a cross from Macauley, who made her second assist of the night. By night’s end, the Bulldogs had outshot Quinnipiac 19-6 and blanked their fifth opponent in six victories this season. The Bulldogs have allowed only eight goals so far this season behind the goalkeeping of captain Sarah Walker ’05.
Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said his team competed hard against a better Yale team. Clarke added that he knew Yale’s struggles coming into Tuesday’s action would have no bearing on the game.
“It was irrelevant how many games they had lost or how long it’d been since they scored — they’re still a quality team,” Clarke said. “The bottom line, to be honest, is they’re a better team than us — better strength and depth than us. There’s no shame in losing to a better team.”
Yale head coach Rudy Meredith said he made a last-minute decision before the game to move Macauley from her usual position at midfield up to forward in an effort to energize the Eli front line. The adjustment seemed to pay off as Macauley took two shots to go along with her two assists on the night. While Meredith praised Macauley’s intensity up front, the Eli forward said she attributed the rebirth of the offense to rigorous practice.
“The opponent wasn’t as strong and we were able to attack more,” Macauley said. “We worked on it all week. Right before the game [coach Meredith] showed us clips of great goals in professional soccer — everything was geared toward scoring.”
The Bulldogs will try to carry their momentum into Hanover this weekend as they face-off against Dartmouth (4-4-2, 1-1-0 Ivy) on Saturday afternoon. In that game, the Elis will look for their first victory against an Ancient Eight opponent.
Meredith said his team must win in order to stay in contention for the Ivy title. But the Elis will have their work cut out for them — the Bulldogs have fallen to the Big Green in their last ten meetings.
Yale has come very close to victory in the teams’ previous two meetings, losing in overtime in each of the past two seasons. Last season, Dartmouth forward Christina Ferraris scored the game-winning goal two minutes into the first overtime. Two years ago, the Bulldogs fell to the Big Green after a Dartmouth goal in the last second of double-overtime.
“We haven’t beaten [Dartmouth] in ten years — not since the first year I was coach,” Meredith said. “They’re a very solid team all the way around. I’ve been trying to figure out what else we have to do. I have to admit, it’s been frustrating as a coach.”
But Meredith said he believes the Elis match up better with Dartmouth this year than in seasons past. He pointed out that, like Yale, Dartmouth fell to Princeton this season.
“They have a tendency to outwork teams; we cannot let Dartmouth outwork us,” Meredith said. “Their strength is that they don’t give up goals, and they do have kids on the team with the ability to score goals too.”
Meredith said the Elis will pay special defensive attention to Ferraris and midfielder/forward Sarah Johnson. Meredith said his players will have two high-intensity practices before Saturday’s game in an effort to keep their momentum going.
Macauley said the Elis are not paying any attention to Yale’s decade-long losing streak against Dartmouth.
“We’re certainly not concentrating on that fact,” Macauley said. “We feel confident about the game. We know we need to give a hundred percent. It’s about how much you want it — if we want to win more than them, then we will.”
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