The Yale women’s soccer team has a challenge ahead of it on Friday as it heads to New York to face off against Hofstra University, which is riding high after a stunning victory last week. The Pride defeated the Duke University Blue Devils, who went to the 2013 NCAA quarterfinals, in a shocking 2–1 win.
“I do not know much about the Hofstra team other than that they recently beat the Duke women’s soccer team, who has a very strong program,” defender Ana Keusch ’16 said. “We are not taking this game lightly and know this will be a hard game.”
Hofstra is currently 4–3 in the Colonial Athletic Association with wins against Bucknell, St. Joseph’s, Indiana State and Duke. The Pride is also currently undefeated at home.
Hofstra has many impressive players, most notably junior forward Leah Galton. She was elected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America first-team all-region in her first two years of school and she has been named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year for two straight seasons.
Hofstra’s team has also had four days off since its last game, while the Elis will have just two after their game against St. Peter’s last Tuesday.
Though the Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them, they have continuously shown that they have the lineup and skill set to take on bigger teams. Having only lost one game so far in the season, the team will be looking forward to increasing its win streak to two after a 5–1 victory on Tuesday. Members of the team attributed the great start to the season to new coaches and practice styles, as well as having the team mesh well early on.
“Our new coaches have made a great impact on the team by introducing new practice sessions and different points of view,” forward Karina Kovalcik ’17 said. “I know that in previous years it has been difficult for the freshmen coming in to feel one hundred percent comfortable. This wasn’t an issue with our current freshmen; they came in entirely comfortable with all of us and ready to contribute at a very early stage.”
Yale’s massive freshman class of 10 recruits has contributed greatly, especially through Sarah McCauley ’18, who has already scored three goals this season.
Though the Hofstra game is on the forefront of the players’ minds, Ivy League play is just around the corner, with Yale taking on Princeton on Sept. 27. Keusch said that relating what they learn from the nonconference games will be good learning experiences for the conference games.
“Princeton is coming up soon, and while we really try to focus on each game, I think that we are all really excited to get out there and test our team in situations that matter the most to us,” Kovalcik added.
The Elis take on Hofstra on Friday, Sept. 19, at 7:00 p.m.