Last year at Reese Stadium, during Alumni Day, a penalty kick by The Crimson just 2:16 into overtime gave Yale its first Ivy loss of the 2011 season. The Bulldogs still haven’t forgotten.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs (5–4, 0–1 Ivy) have the chance to take another shot at Harvard (5–4, 0–1 Ivy).
And for the seniors, this will be their last chance.
“Our senior class has never beaten them,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “Nobody on the team has ever beaten Harvard.”
According to Meredith, Yale’s game is going to mirror the style of play that was apparent in the Princeton game, with a few subtle differences.
First, the Crimson packs an offensive punch that Princeton didn’t. While the Tigers had the league-leading scorer on their team, Jen Hoy, goals did not come from many others. For Harvard, on the other hand, the 12 goals put away this season have come from nine different players. Also, the Crimson has scored consistently, being shut out only once this season by Penn.
“They are good at going forward and attacking and putting you under pressure,” Meredith added.
The Crimson has another similarity to the Tigers — a long thrower.
In the Bulldogs’ overtime loss last week, the goal that ended the game was the result of a long throw-in.
To prepare for Saturday’s matchup, the Elis have been splitting their focus between defending a flurry of attackers and protecting against long throw-ins. Blocking the opposition out when the ball is in the air will aid the Bulldogs in clearing goal-scoring opportunities from their zone. One-on-one defense is crucial to overpowering the myriad of scorers at the Crimson’s disposal.
“We’ve got to work on our one-on-one defending this week,” Meredith added. “They have some really good one-on-one players.”
Despite the defensive emphasis in practice, the Bulldogs have a wide variety of scorers themselves. With 19 goals coming from 10 players this season, the Elis have found ways to score in any situation.
The same can be said for their goaltending. While the Crimson’s sophomore Bethany Kanten has started all seven games this season, the Elis have been successful with both Rachel Ames ’16 and Elise Wilcox ’15 in net, who have each started three games this season, following a season-ending injury to Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13.
This weekend will be a character test for the Bulldogs and will give the Elis a chance to even up their record in the Ivy League to 1–1 while simultaneously putting the Crimson into an 0–2 hole.
Against Princeton, the Bulldogs could not reverse the curse of losing to the Tigers at home. This weekend the Elis are determined to reverse the curse of Ohiri Field.
The Bulldogs will kickoff against the Crimson at 4 p.m. on Saturday for the 35th time.