Two games in one week is uncommon for the women’s soccer team. But two games in one week against the same team is almost unheard of.
The Bulldogs (7–7–1, 1–4–1 Ivy) will head to Providence to take on Brown today at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday at 2 p.m., the Bears will come to Reese Stadium for the Elis’ Senior Day and final game of the season.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever done it,” head coach Rudy Meredith said.
In both contests, the Bulldogs are looking to start explosively — as they did in the Columbia game last week — and control the ball, Meredith said. He added that Brown’s (7–8–0, 1–5–0 Ivy) strong defense has made it hard for opponents to score this season.
This season, Yale has had difficulty converting scoring opportunities into goals. The Eli offense will face a final test this weekend against a Brown side that has allowed two goals in its last three games.
On the attack, Kristen Forster ’13 leads the Bulldogs with six goals and three assists. For the Bears, Mika Siegelman leads the team in scoring with three goals and three assists. Brown forward Chloe Cross may also pose a challenge to the Bulldog defense as she has hammered 24 shots on goal this season. Her next closest teammate has only taken nine.
“She has some space up front,” Meredith said.
While the Elis split time between two goalkeepers for five games earlier this season, the Bears have used two different players in net throughout the year. Amber Bledsoe has accumulated 770 minutes between the pipes with a 0.58 goals against average and 36 saves, while MC Barrett has played 495 minutes with a 1.82 goals against average and 34 saves this season. Yale goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 has a few more saves than either Brown goaltender this season with 46 and has a goals against average that lies between those of Bledsoe and Barrett at 1.17.
The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will play a significant role in the games this weekend. Because the first game of the series is on Thursday instead of Saturday, when games traditionally take place, the Bulldogs have less time to prepare. Two days without practice due to the hurricane and an earlier game date have given the Bulldogs just two full days of practice to prepare for the Bears.
“We’re using [missed practice days] as a recovery,” Meredith said. “We can use those days of rest to have more energy in the game.”
With the limited practice time the Bulldogs had this week, each minute on the practice field was focused. The Elis worked on keeping control of the ball in the midfield, a habit that unraveled in last week’s contest against Columbia, shifting the momentum and enabling Columbia to emerge with a draw after conceding in the first minute of the game.
“We want to get maximum effort out of everybody,” Meredith said.
He added that the Elis are keeping their focus and plan on finishing strong with a game on Thursday, two days of practice and the final game of the season on Sunday.
Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on the Fox Soccer Channel.