The Yale women’s soccer team will take on another Ivy League rival this weekend when it heads to Dartmouth for its third game of conference play this year.
The Bulldogs (5–3–1, 0–1–1 Ivy) have just one point in conference play, placing them three points behind leaders Harvard, Columbia and Princeton, who all hold 1–0–1 records. Winning the remaining five Ivy League games will be critical for the Bulldogs to take the Ancient Eight title. Even then, the team will have to rely on the outcomes of the other teams’ games.
“It is definitely crucial to win out,” defender Carlin Hudson ’18 said. “In order to have a chance to win the Ivies, we have to win the rest of our games and hope that Harvard and Princeton lose.”
Dartmouth (3–3–3, 0–0–2 Ivy), who tied Princeton in a 2–2 matchup last Saturday, has two points but no wins in the league. Last season, Dartmouth finished fourth in the Ivy League with four wins, one of which came from a 1–0 victory over Yale. Hudson added that Dartmouth is typically one of the more competitive teams in the Ivies, so the game will be significant for the Elis.
Hudson and the rest of the Yale defense are likely to be under pressure for most of the game on Saturday. The Big Green leads the league in shots, averaging nearly 15 per game. However, they have had trouble converting those shots into goals, scoring 1.22 goals per game, placing them sixth in the Ivy League.
The Bulldogs started a series of four consecutive away games last Saturday when they headed to Cambridge to face off against Harvard, where they came away with a point in a scoreless draw.
Though the Elis failed to score against the Crimson, multiple players earned league recognition for their efforts. Hudson was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her efforts defending Margaret Purce, the reigning conference offensive player of the year. In addition, goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 was part of the weekly Ivy League Honor Roll and was awarded the Ivy League Player of the Week award by collegesportsmadness.com after recording four saves.
Besides Dartmouth, the team will face Central Connecticut State and Cornell at their respective home fields before finally returning home on Oct. 25 to take on Penn.
Team members said that playing at rival fields has not affected the team’s performance at all, adding that they have proven they can overcome the difficulties of away games. After the Harvard game, midfielder Shannon Conneely ’16 remarked that large showings of Yale fans, even on the road, are encouraging for the team and fuel them to perform at their best.
Although the season is more than halfway over, Ivy League play is just heating up for the Bulldogs. According to players, their focus has heightened with the rising intensity of conference play.
What is more, the Elis have been given longer breaks between games as the season has worn on, and the team has been using that extra time to its advantage.
“Having a full week of practice without midweek games allows us to go over more film, practice more specific drills and not worry about another game,” goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 said.
While time between the Harvard game and the Dartmouth game has been helpful, the Elis will head into a busy week with Dartmouth on Saturday and a game against Central Connecticut State just two days later before venturing to Cornell on Oct. 18.
The Elis face Dartmouth on Oct. 11 with play slated to begin at 7 p.m.