After two tough games in Portland last weekend, the women’s soccer team experienced a much-needed change of pace as they breezed to a 3-0 victory last night.

With a win over Sacred Heart (0-6) at Reese Stadium, the Bulldogs (2-4) kept two six-game streaks alive — they improved their all-time record against the Pioneers to 6-0 and added another loss to Sacred Heart’s current six-game skid. The victory also helped the Elis rebound after a tough road trip to the West Coast, where the squad dropped close games to the University of Washington and No. 3 University of Portland.

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“I think we needed to get a W,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “We know that we play our tough schedule for a reason, but at the same time when you don’t win a game, it’s hard. Hopefully [the win] will give us confidence for our next game.”

The Elis broke through midway through the opening period, as midfielder Eliza Walper ’10 crossed the ball to forward Becky Brown ’11, who one-timed it into the back of the net to put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0. Brown had nearly gotten a goal 10 minutes earlier when she fired a point-blank shot at Sacred Heart goalie Meghan Reichelt, but Reichelt made the stop that time. The Bulldogs came close several more times throughout the half — including a shot by Caitlin Collins ’10 that hit the crossbar — but went into the break ahead by just one.

The Elis then dominated the opening minutes of the second half, outshooting the Pioneers 5-0 before forward Leslie Perez ’10 notched a goal at 61:40 to widen Yale’s lead. Forward Maggie Westfal ’09 put the game out of reach for the Pioneers a few minutes later, when she slipped the ball past the keeper to put the Elis at a three-goal advantage. As the minutes wore on, Sacred Heart struggled to find an answer, managing just one attempt on goal the entire half — a header shot at 73:21 which hit the left post.

“It felt great to get the win,” defender Jacqueline Gantes ’10 said. “Defensively we didn’t give up very many shots at all, and offensively we had tons of opportunities. We had trouble putting them away in the first half, but in the second half they clicked.”

Defender Hayley Zevenbergen ’09 said that despite the losses they suffered last weekend, the squad felt prepared to take on Sacred Heart after competing with teams like Portland. Meredith said that he was also pleased that the Bulldogs were able to put forth such an effort since they had just gotten back from Oregon two days ago.

“I think we’re still recovering from the trip out West — people are mentally and physically tired,” he said. “Under the circumstances, I was happy that we were able to score three goals and also get our first shutout of the season. We also created a lot of chances to score.”

But the Elis have little time to rest on their laurels, as they have three games next week, beginning with Central Connecticut State University (2-3-1) on Sunday.