After five straight games without a goal, the Yale women’s soccer team pulled out a 1–0 victory over Cornell on Saturday, gaining three points in the Ivy League standings and moving from last place to fifth in the conference.
Yale (6–4–2, 1–1–2 Ivy) traveled to Ithaca to take down Cornell (7–7, 1–3 Ivy) in a one-goal game that was decided within the first five minutes of play. Forward Melissa Gavin ’15 scored off of an assist by midfielder Frannie Coxe ’15 at 4:57, the only score of the entire match.
“Scoring early was key to our success,” Coxe said. “Being up 1–0 after the first five minutes of the game allowed us to set the tone of the game and control the tempo.”
Cornell started the contest strong, attempting two shots within the first minute and a half of play, but the Big Red defense was no match for the Coxe-Gavin combination early on. Coxe kept the ball in her possession while moving past the Cornell defender and curved the ball to the goal. Gavin took advantage of the great pass and tapped it in, giving Yale a one-goal lead.
Yale’s defense had to stay on its toes however, as the Big Red offense applied heavy pressure in the first 45 minutes. Cornell took a total of 10 shots in the first half, compared to only five by Yale. Goalkeeper Elise Wilcox ’15 had another stellar showing, making three saves in the first half alone.
The less-than-ideal field conditions after a day of showers left the team playing a bit cautiously to get used to the surface, Gavin said.
“We came out a little flat at the beginning of the game, and it took us a while to get a feel for the surface, because we haven’t played on a grass field of that poor condition yet,” Gavin said. “It was nice to get the goal early because at that point we didn’t feel like we had control over the game, and it was nice to have that burden off our shoulders.”
At the start of the second half, Cornell kept applying pressure, taking eight of the 11 combined shots, five of which were on goal. Yale’s three shots came from Gavin, Coxe and forward Paula Hagopian ’16, with the Cornell goalkeeper stopping Coxe and Hagopian’s attempts. Gavin’s shot, however, went wide.
Wilcox kept her team in the winner’s position, saving all five of the shots by Cornell, the last of which came with only three minutes left in the game, effectively shutting down the Big Red momentum and sealing the win for the Bulldogs.
“Our defense has been playing really well, and it’s great to see that consistently throughout the season,” Wilcox said. “I’m just happy I was able to do my part to bring home the win.”
The Elis have not had a home game since Sept. 27, as the last four games have all been at opponents’ fields. The team finally gets to come home for three games in a row, starting this weekend against Penn.
Gavin and Coxe both commented that being able to play at home is exciting and having fans there for support when they take on a strong Penn team will be encouraging.
The Bulldogs take on the Quakers on Saturday, Oct. 25, in Reese Stadium. Play is slated to begin at 4 p.m.