For the third time since the start of Ivy League play, the Yale women’s soccer team notched a tie, this time in a 1–1 draw against Penn on Saturday after forward Melissa Gavin ’15 scored in the second half to save the Bulldogs from defeat.
The match gave the Elis (6–4–3, 1–1–3 Ivy) one point and settled the squad into fifth place among the Ancient Eight with just two conference games to play. The squad remains one point behind Princeton, who felled the Bulldogs in their first Ivy League game of the season, as well as Columbia, which they will take on this Saturday at Reese Stadium.
While taking first place from Harvard is effectively out of reach for any team except Dartmouth, currently four points behind the Crimson, the Bulldogs have a chance to capitalize on their games against Columbia and Brown and strive for a higher standing by the end of the season.
Midfielder Geny Decker ’17 added that playing at home boosted the spirits of the team when they were stepping out onto the field and put them in a good mentality.
The Quakers’ (5–5–3, 1–3–1) lone Ivy League win came against Columbia in a 1–0 victory. In five games, Penn has allowed seven goals, one of the worst records in the league, but the team also has one of the highest numbers of saves at 35. Though their defense is solid, the Quakers have the lowest numbers of shots at 126. Every other team has over 150.
The Bulldogs had the opposite problem, with a high number of shots but a low rate of capitalization. Though Yale has averaged 12.8 shots per game, it has struggled to find the back of the net, scoring just 1.2 times per match. Gavin broke the team’s five-game scoreless streak against Cornell just before fall break, and the Elis looked to create a new streak by scoring against Penn. Once again, Gavin made that a reality for the Elis.
“It’s been nice that I’ve been able to contribute in the past few games,” Gavin said. “I had been unlucky scoring in our out-of-league games, so it’s nice to hit the back of the net in a few of the games that matter.”
The game started without a lot of action, other than a save by goaltender Elise Wilcox ’15 in the 20th minute. There were only three shots in the first 30 minutes, one by Yale’s Paula Hagopian ’16 and two by Penn. After an offside call and a foul by Penn, Quaker forward Juliana Provini took advantage of a pass to score the first goal of the game for either team, giving the Quakers the lead. Another shot by Hagopian in the 43rd minute was the last attempt for Yale in the first half.
Heading into the second half, the Yale offense opened up with a shot by midfielder Sarah McCauley ’18 that was saved by the Penn goalkeeper. In the 74th minute, defender Meg Byfield ’18 made a pass to Gavin, who sank the ball into the net and tied the game at one. Each of the goalkeepers made one save before time expired, and both teams added one point to their conference season totals.
The Bulldogs have only three games left in the season, with their last non-conference game tonight against UMass Lowell. The game, as well as their game against Columbia on Saturday, will be at home, before the Elis head to Brown to round out the season.
“The seniors are really happy that we get to play two out of our last three games at home,” Gavin added. “We had a long stretch of away games, so it’s nice to be back and playing in front of familiar faces on our home field for the last games of our career.”
The Bulldogs take on UMass Lowell tonight at 7 p.m. in Reese Stadium.