After a disappointing loss to Hofstra on Friday, the Yale women’s soccer team regrouped to pull out a win against the University of Massachusetts two days later.
The second game of the season saw the Bulldogs (1–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) fall 5–4 in a double overtime loss against the Hofstra Pride (4–2–0, 0–0–0 Colonial). Last season, midfielder Geneva Decker ’17 and forward Paula Hagopian ’16 scored two goals in the first half to give the Elis the win against the Pride. This year, Hofstra responded to each of Yale’s goals with one of its own. The Pride sealed the deal four minutes into the second overtime when Jeannine Molleda powered the ball past Yale goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16.
“Every game is a learning experience and we’re just trying to focus on fixing the small tactical mistakes before the next game,” defender Hannah Coy ’18 said. “We are definitely disappointed in the final outcome [against Hofstra].”
Though Yale’s offense stepped up with four goals, its defense left something to be desired. It was the most goals allowed by a Yale team since the Sept. 13, 2013 match against Georgetown, and only two games in program history featured more combined goals than the nine scored between the Pride and the Elis — the most recent of which came in an 11–0 win over American in 1994.
“The defense is just learning how to play with one another,” forward Michelle Alozie ’19 said. “Firstly, we have six starting freshmen. Secondly, we suffered a major loss losing our center back Carlin Hudson ’18 due to an ACL injury, and that made our very dangerous midfielder, Sarah McCauley ’18, have to drop back.”
By contrast, the Bulldogs’ game against UMass (0–3–2, 0–0–0 Atlantic 10) on Sunday represented a much-improved defensive showing for Yale.
Ames and fellow goalie Maritza Grillo ’19, who made her first career appearance for the Bulldogs, combined for 10 saves in a shutout victory over the Minutewomen.
The Bulldogs set the tone from the very start when, within the first 10 minutes of the game, a pair of freshmen connected to find the back of the net. Midfielder Sofia Griff ’19 sent a long ball down the field, and Alozie corralled the pass and put it in the back of the net.
Combined with Grillo’s three saves in the first half, Alozie and Griff’s exploits proved that the freshman class can contribute from day one.
“Our freshman class has been playing a lot and many of us have been starting in games,” Griff said. “We have had a lot of support from the older players on the team, who have been amazing at helping us adjust to playing in a new environment.”
Yale continued their offensive pressure with shots from Griff, Hagopian and captain and defender Ally Grossman ’16.
The Minutewomen were almost able to equalize in the 30th minute of the game. Though they capitalized on a loose ball after a long free kick, sneaking it past Grillo, the side judge called back the goal, stating that UMass was offside.
“Although Sunday’s victory was a great feeling for all of us in women’s soccer, we can’t hold onto that feeling forever,” Alozie said. “We are focused coming into Tuesday’s game and we are starting to know what works for this 2015–16 team.”
Alozie was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her assist against Hofstra and her goal against UMass.