In what is sure to be its most difficult challenge yet, the Yale women’s soccer team will take on archrival Harvard (6–2–1, 1–0 Ivy) in Cambridge on Saturday. Both teams have performed similarly up to this point this season, indicating the game is sure to be a tough match for both teams.
The Bulldogs (5–3, 0–1 Ivy) are more than ready to face off against the Crimson, and the tension between the two squads will be sure to make play intense. Yale’s 10 freshmen are excited to participate in the rivalry for the first time and are prepared to play their best for the team.
“Of course, there is always a lot of tension between our two teams, but that’s what makes it exciting,” Aria Pearlman Morales ’18 said. “I think our team is prepared to handle it, and I’m excited to be a part of it for the first time.”
As with any rivalry, emotions can come to the forefront, but the Bulldogs are confident that they will stay collected. Carlin Hudson ’18, who scored her first collegiate goal in Yale’s game against Quinnipiac, said that she is sure the team will remain professional, even under competitive pressure.
The two teams have not yet faced any of the same opponents, as Yale’s only conference game was a loss against Princeton. Harvard, on the other hand, took down Penn in a 3–0 victory on Saturday.
This season, the team has been using video footage and team research to better understand what their opponents are bringing to the table. The Bulldogs are typically better prepared for Ivy opponents as they face them every year. Scouting reports on teams’ strengths and weaknesses remain essential, however. Morales added that they are fully prepared for the Harvard game and plan to apply what they have learned when they are out on the field.
Ivy League play has brought a more balanced schedule to the Elis, which both Hudson and Morales said they are grateful for after weeks of multiple games in short time spans. By the time the Elis kickoff against the Crimson, they will have had a full week off from their game against Princeton.
Hudson and Morales added that being able to focus on one game for a long period has allowed them to prepare to perform their best on Saturday.
Concentration will be essential for the game, as the Yale-Harvard rivalry brings out many fans. The Bulldogs will have to play through a strong Crimson fan base, but they feel that they will be able to perform their best.
“We don’t typically have a problem with enemy territory. We played Hofstra at their field and won, so I don’t think it will affect our play at all,” Morales said. “We have also played [at Harvard] every year, so the majority of the team is very familiar with the field.”
The Elis head to Cambridge on Oct. 4, and they will kick off at 4:00 p.m.