The Yale women’s soccer team kicks off its season at home this weekend against hometown rival Quinnipiac University, who finished last season with a 3–8–5 record.
The squad is looking to bounce back from a rough ending last season, and this game against Quinnipiac presents an opportunity for a better start.
With a larger roster that includes ten freshmen, the team is largely reinvigorated for the opening game, despite suffering crucial injuries at the end of last season. Defender Katie Fletcher ’17 said the Elis are only suffering from a few injuries.
While the teams have not faced off recently, they both played Brown last season. Both teams lost, with Quinnipiac and Yale falling by scores of 1–0 and 3–1, respectively. But despite the lack of the squads’ recent matchups, the Bulldogs have some good knowledge about what the Bobcats are bringing to the table.
“We know a bit about how they play based on the drills our coaches have us do the week before, but the coaches know a lot and watch film so they play us according to their scouting reports,” Fletcher said.
Though only a few weeks into the school year, the team has bonded quickly and feels well prepared, multiple players said. Many Elis added that they feel strong as a team going into the start of the season under the leadership of captain Meredith Speck ’15.
With a few players nursing injuries, the coaches want to keep the team as healthy as possible and have been changing up practices to lead into the Quinnipiac game.
“Practices a few days before a game can be intense, but closer to the match, practices tend to be on the lighter side so that we can be more explosive on the field come game time and so that we can also reduce risk of injury,” midfielder Geny Decker ’17 said.
Injuries hurt the team partway through the season last year, but the fresh recoveries of Decker, Shannon Conneely ’16 and Ally Grossman ’16 will add strength to the already powerful lineup.
After the game against Quinnipiac, the team will play at Sacred Heart on Tuesday and will then return home for the Yale Classic the next weekend. The upcoming schedule is tough and includes Western Kentucky and Hofstra, both of whom finished their 2013 seasons well above .500. Yale will look to use the Quinnipiac game to meld and work out any issues, Decker said.
“The game will definitely be a good test of where we are and where we’re headed as a team,” Decker added. “We’ve only played a few scrimmages thus far, but once we get a few games under our belts, we’ll get into a rhythm and gel with each other on the field. Quinnipiac is our starting point.”
Play begins at 7:30 p.m. in Reese Stadium.