After a bit of soul-searching during practice last week, the Bulldogs fought for their first win in the Ivy League to snap a three-game losing streak.
On Saturday at Berman field, Yale (6–6, 1–3 Ivy) took down Cornell (1–11–1, 0–3–1 Ivy) 1–0, for its first conference shutout. With just under six minutes left in the game, midfielder Frannie Coxe ’15 fired a corner kick into the box while the Bulldogs created chaos in front of the net. Lost in the confusion, a Cornell defender deflected the ball just inside the near post to give the Elis the only goal of the game.
“Everyone worked really hard,” forward Anne Song ’13 said. “It was one of the keys coming into the game.”
After losing their last three straight, the Bulldogs worked in practice to tweak lineups and put in the extra effort to get the season back on track. The Bulldogs worked on team defense last week in practice, but also on individual play, according to head coach Rudy Meredith. He added that practices focus on each individual’s contribution to strengthen team play.
Both Meredith and his players said the Elis gained an edge over the Big Red by focusing on getting the second defender to the ball and recovering from turnovers.
“It was definitely a full team effort,” captain and midfielder Jenny Butwin ’13 said. “The mentality was we need to cover for each other, and we need to work for each other.”
Relentless defense contributed to the Bulldogs’ shutout. Goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 stopped four of four shots on goal to win her first collegiate shutout.
Despite being outshot 14 to 6 during the game, the Elis were able to hold the ball for longer than the Big Red.
“We did a better job of keeping the ball in possession,” Meredith said.
And with the ball in their possession, the Bulldogs were able to create scoring chances, which the Elis had struggled to do the past couple of games. Song said the team made strides in its play on the offensive side of the field.
“We could have put a few away,” Song said. “We definitely took a step in the right direction in terms of fluidity and being more threatening on the attack.”
The Bulldogs also succeeded in putting pressure on Cornell when the Big Red defenders were in possession. This pressure is what eventually led to the Bulldogs’ game-winning goal.
“We were able to get numbers around the box,” Meredith said. “You make them make a mistake because of the pressure you put on them.”
The combination of the Bulldogs’ team defense and persistent attack gave the Elis enough ball possession and scoring opportunities to come out on top for their first Ivy win.
“The small things in soccer make the difference,” Butwin said.
The Bulldogs will compete in their next Ivy game Saturday, Oct. 20 at home against the University of Pennsylvania.