The younger players of the Yale women’s soccer team started off the season spectacularly, with a freshman and a sophomore scoring the two goals that took down the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Friday.
Those goals proved to be the difference, as Yale topped its crosstown rival 2–0 at Yale’s Reese Stadium.
“As our season opener, I know we were all happy with the result and I think everyone worked really hard and showed how much effort we are willing to put in for the team,” said defender Carlin Hudson ’18. “But there’s always room for improvement.”
Yale’s offense started strong, with forward Melissa Gavin ’15 nearly scoring in the first five minutes of the game. But Quinnipiac immediately responded, taking the ball down the field and trying for a shot that just sailed over the top right corner of the goal in the first 10 minutes.
Sophomore midfielder Geny Decker ’17 proved to be a nightmare for the Bobcats throughout the game. With 26 minutes left in the first half, Decker passed to an open Gavin, resulting in another near goal for Yale. A minute later, after a Bulldog corner kick, Hudson scored with assists from senior Frannie Coxe ’15 and senior Muriel Battaglia ’15.
“I think I was the most excited I’ve ever been,” Hudson said about scoring the goal. “I was already so excited to just be playing, and to score on top of that made it all surreal. It really was a dream come true.”
Yale continued to be strong on offense, led by Gavin and Decker, until an injury caused Decker to fall. With less than fifteen minutes left in the first quarter, Quinnipiac defender Joanna Proctor delivered a blow to Deckers’s leg, earning the Bobcat a yellow card and causing Decker to be taken to the sidelines. Forward Paula Hagopian ’16 entered the vacant spot.
The closest the Bobcats came to scoring came with only 12 minutes left in the opening frame. Taking advantage of a corner kick, Bobcat Amanda Barroca nearly scored, but Yale goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 came up with the save.
The rest of the half was marked by fouls on both sides, with Yale earning two and Quinnipiac’s Jessica Fontaine ’17 earning a yellow card.
After halftime, Decker reentered, and the team continued to wreak havoc on the Bobcat defense. Another yellow card went to Quinnipiac, this time to forward Christina Cesarini ’15 five minutes into the second half. Moments later, Decker took a shot that just barely sailed over the net.
She made up for the miss a few minutes later, however, when an assist from Coxe allowed her to kick the ball into the goal from only a few feet away.
Even with their strong lead, the Elis continued their relentless offensive strategy. Coxe set herself up for a scoring opportunity by lobbing the ball over a Bobcat defender’s head to get closer to the goal, but her shot was just off.
Quinnipiac’s offense was stronger in the second half, and a shot by Cesarini was saved by Rachel Ames ’16, who took over the position of goalkeeper for the second half of the game. Between her and Wilcox’s goalkeeping, the two girls combined for a shutout.
“Elise and I always strive to get shutouts for the team, so any save made, whether big or small, gets us that much closer to our goal. Knowing that we successfully played our role for the team feels awesome and I hope we continue to take some of the stress off of the rest of the team by doing our job,” Ames said.