It’s bad enough having to spend the weekend in middle-of-nowhere, New Hampshire. But it’s even worse when you come home with nothing but a loss to show for it.
The women’s soccer team (6-5-1, 2-1 Ivy) gave up an undefeated Ivy League record on Saturday when the Elis fell to Dartmouth (7-3-1, 3-0), 1-0, at Chase Field. Tallied late in the first half of the game, the only goal of the day for either team ended a dismal first half of play. The second half, by comparison, gave the Bulldogs more goal-scoring opportunities but afforded them no better luck, head coach Rudy Meredith said.
“They dominated us in the first half,” he said. “But we dominated the second and really controlled possession. We just couldn’t get chances on the goal.”
The Bulldogs took 15 shots total, and the Big Green fired 16. Although Dartmouth was able to sneak only one goal by netminder Susan Starr ’08, the Big Green’s solid defense kept the Bulldogs at bay.
“We were never able to get it into the final third,” Mimi Macauley ’07 said. “And we never figured out quite how to defend against them, as a result, we never got a real rhythm going.”
The Big Green’s ability to play the ball in the air proved to be its greatest asset as it prevented the Bulldogs from gaining possession throughout the first half.
The fact that the team could never set a tone during the first half meant that the Elis dug themselves into a pit out of which they couldn’t climb. The Elis’ frustration with their initial play lowered their confidence level throughout the rest of the game, captain Christina Huang ’07 said.
“They made us play their game, and they won,” Macauley said.
Although the Bulldogs anticipated that Dartmouth would bring their usual physical intensity to the competition, the team was unable to overcome the sheer size and force of the Big Green women.
“They came at us with a strategy, and they came at us really hard,” Macauley said. “They were really strong and athletic, in shape and ready to play. They were simply able to knock us off the ball.”
Although the faces of the Bulldogs opponents may change each week, their Achilles heel — capitalizing on scoring opportunities — stays the same.
“We’ve been having the same problem,” Meredith said. “We just need to put up more goals in general, and we can’t give up anymore [goals].”
The Elis have scored 12 goals and given up 13 in the 12 games they have played so far this season.
The key to their future success is going to be scoring both first and early, Meredith said.
“When we score first we don’t lose,” he said. “We just get a level of confidence, offensively and defensively.”
Yale women’s soccer ranks third in the Ivy League behind undefeated Dartmouth and Columbia (5-4-3, 2-0-1).
“We’re hanging on by a thread in terms of winning the Ivy,” Huang said. “Now we just need to pick up the confidence and stay healthy.”
The Bulldogs will play Cornell (1-9-1, 0-3) in Ithaca, N.Y., next Saturday.