After a tough opening weekend of shutout losses against No. 6 North Carolina and No. 12 Duke, the women’s soccer team was due for a victory. Fortunately, an undefeated weekend at the Delaware Classic proved the Elis are hungry for more wins and are willing to fight for them.
Beginning the weekend with a 1-1 tie against Delaware (5-0-1) on Friday, the Bulldogs (1-2-1) went out on Sunday and posted a 1-0 decision over Montana (4-3). Racking up an impressive 27 shots at Delaware’s Mini Stadium over the weekend, the team employed a strong offense while also protecting the net, letting in only one goal in two matches.
“We take each game one at a time rather than think about the whole weekend,” Yale head coach Rudy Meredith said. “I just think we are starting to click. We have a couple new players, and we have only had a short time for practice and preseason.”
Stepping onto the field on Friday with an 0-2 record hanging over their heads, the Bulldogs battled hard and created numerous opportunities on goal, dominating with 17 shots to the Blue Hens’ six shots. After only 11 minutes had run down on the clock, midfielder Crysti Howser ’09 fed a cross to Christina Huang ’07, who beat Delaware goalkeeper Bonnie Mills to grasp an early lead for Yale.
Just eight minutes into the second half, the Blue Hens answered back when Lisa Parsons sent a ball in to Lindsay Boyd, who scored her fifth goal of the season — and the Hens maintained that intensity for the rest of the game. Huang almost put another point on the board in the last minute of play, but her shot clinked off the right goal post. Despite having the only three shots in overtime, the Bulldogs were unable to steal a victory from the undefeated Blue Hens.
“We were really trying to … get back into how we were playing last year,” forward Emma Whitfield ’09 said. “The games are supposed to be fun. We are about just trying to enjoy ourselves on the field.”
The Yale offense came out strong again for the 11:30 a.m. game Sunday against Montana with plans to come together in the final third of the field.
“The forwards’ strategy was working on combination plays and making overlapping runs to combine in the box and finish,” forward Leslie Perez ’10 said. “After the first game, when we weren’t doing so hot, [Coach] Rudy gave us a speech telling us that we had more potential than we were showing, so the team encouraged each other to do better.”
The Bulldogs’ persistent attack created 10 shots that kept goalkeeper Grace Harris very busy. In the 41st minute, Perez crossed the ball to Whitfield, who got a taste of the net and carried the Bulldogs into a 1-0 lead. On the defensive end, Susan Starr ’08 held onto a shutout, making five saves.
After a successful trip to Delaware, the women’s team is fired up and preparing for the next game against UMass at home this Friday at 7 p.m.
“[UMass] will be well-organized and well-coached,” Meredith said. “They have had a couple good results against good teams, so we have to be prepared.”