After another test of physical endurance in a two-game weekend, the Yale women’s soccer team has proven its strength yet again, this time taking down Hofstra in a stunning 2–1 victory on Friday.
Though the squad lost its Sunday game against New Hampshire, it has pushed its season record to 5–2 just one week before Ivy League play is slated to begin.
The Bulldogs started their weekend at Hofstra on Friday afternoon. The team knew that the game would be tough from the start, so the Bulldogs were aware that they would have to be at top form every second.
“We were mentally prepared for Hofstra knowing in advance that our opponent wasn’t going to go down without a fight,” midfielder Geny Decker ’17 said.
The Bulldogs struck early, as they have for the past few games. After goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 saved a shot by Hofstra, Decker stole a pass and scored for Yale at 5:10. Hofstra came back with a vengeance, taking six unanswered shots, five of which had to be saved by Wilcox.
Finally, twenty minutes into the half, midfielder Sarah McCauley ’18 took a shot that went wide. Wilcox continued to be a wall for her team, blocking several more shots until the Pride finally managed to break through. Hofstra’s Sam Scolarici scored an assisted goal 28 minutes into the game, tying the match at one.
Multiple substitutions followed on both sides, including forward Paula Hagopian ’16 subbing in for forward Melissa Gavin ’15. Just six minutes after entering, Hagopian received a pass from McCauley and sank it into the net, giving Yale the lead just before the first half ended.
That goal was all Yale needed, as Wilcox had a flawless second half, making five saves to keep her team ahead. Her biggest save came when Hofstra earned a penalty kick. Scolarici took the chance for Hofstra at 88:21, but Wilcox blocked the shot and sealed the win for the Elis.
“I was incredibly happy to be able to come up with the save for my team. For goalies, penalty kicks often involve more luck than skill, so I was relieved that we wouldn’t have to go into overtime based on that call,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox had a total of twelve saves on the night, compared to the Hofstra goalkeeper’s two.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Sunday did not pan out the same way, as they fell to New Hampshire 2–1.
The Wildcats started out the game by putting pressure on Yale’s defense, taking the only shots of the game for the first thirty minutes. Yale’s offense was finally able to make a break for the goal and took three unanswered shots. Both goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 and New Hampshire net minder Mimi Borkan kept their teams in the game by saving all the shots that came toward them in the goal.
At the start of the second half, New Hampshire continued its relentless pursuit of a goal, keeping the ball on the Yale side of the field for over ten minutes. Their pursuits were successful when they scored at 56:08, the only goal they needed for the win. Multiple saves by Borkan kept Yale from tying the game and the Elis fell for only the second time in seven games this season.
Both Decker and Wilcox commented that the Bulldogs need to work on putting away any chances they get, especially as they head into Ivy League play this week.
“We’re always more focused on the Ivy games. Only those seven games decide whether we are champions at the end of the season. Practices will be oriented towards what gives us the best chance of beating Princeton based on how they’ve been playing so far this season,” Wilcox added.
The Bulldogs have five days off before taking on Princeton in Reese Stadium on Sept. 27. Play begins at 4:00 p.m.