The floodgates opened in the 77th minute of play for the women’s soccer team.

After battling Rider University to a scoreless tie for the first 77 minutes last night at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium, the Elis broke through for three goals in less than six minutes on their way to a 3-0 victory and their sixth straight win. The Bulldogs improved to 11-4-0 on the season, and 3-2-0 in league play.

“In the first half, we couldn’t connect anything,” midfielder Laurel Karnes ’06 said. “For some reason, we could not find the other players on our team. But in the second half, once you start it, once you get into the rhythm, you don’t even have to look anymore where [your teammates] are going, and you can pass them the ball, and that’s just what happened.”

The Bulldogs managed just two shots in the first half to Rider’s four. But the Eli offense came alive in the second half, thanks in part to Yale head coach Rudy Meredith moving a third player to forward. The Yale squad rattled off 13 shots in the second half.

“We were having some trouble in the first half, so we moved an extra player up front,” Meredith said.

Yet the Elis had nothing to show for their efforts through the first 20 minutes of the second half. Rider stayed in the game behind the goal keeping of freshman Kim Carter, who had six saves in the second half. But at 77:54, Karnes dribbled the ball wide left, broke away from her defenders and sent a high cross to midfielder Lindsey Weening ’06 who shot the ball past the diving Carter.

Less than 30 seconds later, forward Mimi Macauley ’07 scored from the right side. The Bulldogs had taken the ball away from Rider from the reset after Weening’s goal. Karnes pushed the ball down the left side and passed to forward Steffi Delvecchio ’08 right in front of the Rider goal. But rather than shooting, Delvecchio kicked the ball out to the right side, where Macauley drilled the ball into the upper left 90 for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.

Karnes finished the night’s scoring in the 84th minute when she broke through two defenders on the left side and scored unassisted as the ball deflected off Carter into the goal.

Rider head coach Kevin Long said his players fell apart on the field after Yale’s first score.

“[We] played really well for about 70 minutes,” Long said. “But after the first goal we really lost our composure. Throughout the second half, I thought Yale really came at us, attacking us a bit more. Instead of continuing with our game, our response was to release pressure and give the ball back to them too often.”

Macualey said the Elis were passing well in the second half, and a third player at forward gave them more chances to score. She was named the Ivy League women’s soccer player of the week after scoring two goals last week, including a game winner in double overtime in a crucial game against Penn last Sunday at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. Macauley said she has benefited from the skilled passing of her teammates.

“I really think I’ve just been getting great passes,” Macauley said. “I don’t think I’ve been playing that well, but when people pass me the ball right in front of the net, it’s much more up to them.”

The Elis return to action on Saturday night for their final home game against Columbia (7-6-0, 1-4-0 Ivy). The Lions are on a high after beating Dartmouth (5-6-2, 1-3-1) last weekend in New York — the first time the Columbia women’s soccer team had beaten Dartmouth in program history. The Elis accomplished a similar feat on Oct. 10 in Hanover, N.H., when they beat the Big Green for the first time in a decade.

Meredith said the Lions give him reason to be anxious.

“[The Lions] are a very tough, physical team,” Meredith said. “They are one of the teams that scares me the most because they play with a lot of passion and a lot of energy. We have to match that passion and energy, or we’ll be in for a long, long night.”

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