The women’s soccer team has a new motto: “knockout, no decision.”
The Bulldogs adopted the saying after falling to Harvard, 2–1, last Saturday — when several team members disagreed with the referee’s decision to award the Harvard Crimson the game-winning goal on an overtime penalty kick. To avoid losing again based on an official’s call, the Elis have decided to score enough goals to stay well ahead of opponents — to “knockout” opponents in the box.
“We have to win games by two or more goals, so if the referee makes a bad decision, it doesn’t cost us the game,” head coach Rudy Meredith said.
The Elis (5–4–2, 2–1 Ivy) stayed true to their new mantra Saturday night as four different players found the back of the net to power the team to a 4–1 win over Dartmouth (3–8, 1–2) at Reese Stadium.
The Bulldogs scored twice in the first half and added another goal early in the second half to seize a 3–0 lead. Though the Big Green got on the board with a goal in the 77th minute, the Elis responded with a fourth goal just two minutes later to keep the game out of Dartmouth’s reach.
Before playing Dartmouth, the Elis had not scored more than two goals in a game this season. Though the Bulldogs finished with just a slight 10–8 edge in shots, five of those shots were on goal.
“It was really nice for us to come back and beat [Dartmouth] the way that we did tonight,” forward Melissa Gavin ’15 said. “I think that we were really disappointed after last week and we wanted to reaffirm how good we know we are.”
During the game, Gavin scored her fourth goal of the year.
The Big Green had a chance to strike first in the 14th minute when midfielder Chrissy Lozier curved a free kick into the box to fellow midfielder Ally Dutton, but Dutton’s header went wide of the net. Five minutes later, Yale took a 1–0 lead after midfielder Enma Mullo ’12 passed to Gavin, and she drilled a 20-yard shot into the upper left corner of the net.
“I knew I had a shot, and I was like, ‘If I miss this, they’re going to kill me,’” Gavin said. “So I had to take it, and it just went in.”
The Bulldogs extended their lead at the 30:47 mark when Gavin fed a ball through to Kristen Forster ’13, who split two Dartmouth defenders in the box and beat Big Green goalkeeper Colleen Hogan with a low shot inside the far post.
But the game took a scary turn in the 34th minute when goalkeeper Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 jumped to make a save and collided midair with a Dartmouth player. The Big Green player was able to get up and walk off the field, but the Elis’ keeper was sent to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, an injury Meredith said could end the season for her.
Meredith called the prospect of losing Jackson-Gibson as a starting goaltender “devastating.”
Freshman keeper Elise Wilcox ’15 came in to replace Jackson-Gibson for the remainder of the game. Wilcox also played last month against Boston University.
When play resumed about 30 minutes later, the Bulldogs continued to pressure the Big Green defense. The Elis earned three corner kicks in the final four minutes of the first half, but Dartmouth was able to clear all the attempts to keep Yale’s advantage at 2–0 when the buzzer sounded halftime.
In the second half, the Bulldogs scored a third goal on a free kick just outside the penalty box. Mullo placed the shot over a wall of Big Green defenders and out of Hogan’s reach to put Yale ahead, 3–0.
The Big Green cut the deficit to 3–1 after midfielder Emma Brush fired a shot from 33 yards out into the back of the net 13 minutes before the end of the game.
But the Elis reestablished their three-goal lead just two minutes later. Forward Frannie Coxe ’15 headed a ball into an open space for Mary Kubiuk ’13, who caught up to the ball and cut into the right side of the penalty box before sliding the ball past Dartmouth keeper Sam Fearer. It was her first goal of the year.
“I feel like it’s been coming for a while,” Kubiuk said, “so it was nice to finally get [a goal].”
Kubiuk said the team’s ability to keep a solid lead would help the players’ confidence in future games.
The win boosted the Elis up to a four-way tie for second place in the Ivy League alongside Penn, Brown and Columbia. The Elis stand just one point behind first-place Harvard, who tied Cornell, 2–2, over the weekend to retain its place atop the rankings.
“I think this was probably the most important week of the season for us,” Meredith said. “I’m very proud of [the team’s] effort today.”
The Bulldogs are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Fairfield University for a non-conference matchup.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.