After a back-and-forth tie against Brown on Thursday, the Bulldogs sailed past the Bears on Sunday during the final career game for eight Yale seniors.
On Thursday, Yale (8–7–2, 1–4–2 Ivy) matched Brown (7–9–1, 1–5–1 Ivy) 2–2 in Providence during a game broadcasted on the Fox Soccer channel. After some adjustments to their strategy, the Bulldogs took on the Bears at home on Sunday for the annual “Senior Day” game and came away with a 1–0 win. The victory was Yale’s fifth shutout of the season, and the Elis closed the season with fourth straight games without a loss. Captain Jenny Butwin ’13 said the Elis struggled to control the midfield on Thursday, but overcame that challenge to finish the season with a winning record on Sunday — their 10th in the past 11 seasons.
“I’m glad the seniors [went] out with a win,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “I’m proud of the seniors. They all played well.”
An early fifth minute goal gave the Bulldogs the lead in an emotional win for the eight Eli seniors. Against Columbia two weeks before, the Bulldogs also scored quickly, only 48 seconds into the contest.
The goal came from forward Mary Kubiak ’13. Defender Annie Hull ’15 sent the ball up the line to Kubiak, who tiptoed around a few Brown defenders and smashed the ball into the top half of the net to put the Bulldogs up 1–0.
The rest of Sunday’s game came down to what coach Meredith said would be the key to beating Brown on Thursday — controlling the midfield. The Elis pressured the Bears on both halves of the field, taking valuable space away from the Bears.
While most of the beginning of the game was spent in the Bulldogs’ half of the midfield, the Elis spent the second half attacking Brown. With just 14 minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs peppered the Bears relentlessly, earning corner kick after corner kick for a total of five straight opportunities.
The Bulldogs were less successful in the midfield battle in their 2–2 draw against the Bears on Thursday.
“Going into Thursday whoever controlled the midfield would win the game,” captain and midfielder Jenny Butwin ’13 said. “Starting with a 4–4–2 [formation] today, we were definitely matched up front.”
In Thursday’s matchup Brown scored first when the Bears’ Chloe Cross scored her fifth goal on her 59th shot of the season. But in the second half, the Bulldogs fought back as midfielder Kristen Forster ’13 popped her seventh goal of the season past the Bears to tie the game. Just 18 minutes later, the Bulldogs took the lead when forward Melissa Gavin ’15 blasted the ball past Brown goalkeeper Amber Bledsoe. With five minutes left, the Bears were able to even the score at 2–2, but the Bulldogs were not ready to quit.
Just 18 seconds after the Bears tied the game, Forster rushed up the field and fired a shot past Bledsoe, but it rang off the post, leaving the game tied at the end of regulation. The two overtime periods ended without further dramatics, and the game ended in a draw.
The players were happy to have finished their season and careers with a victory after Sunday’s game.
“Not many teams get to end their seasons on a win,” forward Anne Song ’13 said. “It was nice to be with the seniors one more time.”
Meredith started all seven healthy seniors in Sunday’s game.