After the first goal, it began to seem possible. After the second goal, cautious optimism was key. But after goal number three, it was all but certain.

The women’s soccer team had completed its mission, and was going to win their first outright Ivy League championship in its 27-year history.

Brown put up a respectable fight in tonight’s matchup at Soccer-Lacrosse stadium, but the Elis were unstoppable right out of the gate, blasting out to a 2-0 lead on first-half goals by Mimi Maculey ’07 and Crysti Howser ’09. Maggie Westfal ’09 put the finishing touches on the title-clinching victory, making it a three-goal lead with a boot less than two minutes in the second half, and the Bulldogs coasted to the 3-0 final.

The near capacity crowd rose to its feet with a minute left on the clock, and counted the seconds before the Yale bench erupted in celebration at midfield with the final buzzer. Captain Eleni Benson ’06 cradled the gold Ivy League Championship trophy minutes later, solid evidence of a year of hard work and a landmark for a school that waited nearly three decades for this moment.

Senior Laurel Karnes ’06 said this was the perfect way to end her Ivy career.

“This is so huge,” she said. “We all just went out there so pumped up, just had a lot of fun, and though we couldn’t say it before, we knew we could beat these guys.”