Coming off of a close victory against UMass last Sunday, the women’s soccer program picked up their second win of the season in a 4–0 domination over Sacred Heart (2–4–0, 0–0–0 Northeast) on Tuesday night.
The team started off strong with forward Michelle Alozie ’19 putting up two goals within the first 13 minutes of the game. The early lead allowed the Bulldogs (2–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) complete control and let the team play at their own pace, shutting down Sacred Heart’s attempts at a comeback. Comfortably slotting in two more in the second half, the Elis finished the game strong to earn their second shutout of the season. Midfielder Maggie Furlong ’18 said the team’s ability to successfully make the changes advised by their coach helped them secure the victory.
“Our coach went through the goals for the game and what we needed to focus on especially,” Furlong said.
Head coach Rudy Meredith let the team know they needed to play as a unit offensively and defensively as well as win their battles to loose balls. When they stepped onto the field, Furlong said, the Bulldogs addressed all of the points discussed in the locker room.
Tuesday night’s game was an example of the team’s developing chemistry, an especially important point given that over half the starters are freshmen.
“We are definitely a young team, but we are beginning to mesh well,” said captain Ally Grossman ’16.
To start off the scoring on Tuesday night, Alozie capitalized on a moment of confusion between a Sacred Heart defender and the goalkeeper to burst past them, taking the ball with her. Nearly seven minutes into the game, Alozie found space and slid the ball into an empty net to put the Elis up 1–0.
Alozie’s second goal came off of an assist from Grossman. Alozie boxed out the defender and connected with the free kick in the box. Her header sent the ball into the bottom corner, netting Yale’s second goal at 12:17.
Two early goals helped the Bulldogs dictate the tempo for the rest of the game. They played strong possession soccer, building up from the back and exploding into the front, which prevented the Pioneers from retaliating. The Bulldogs’ control of the game was reflected in the game’s statistics — the Elis put up 10 shots to Sacred Heart’s three.
“We knew we could prevent it from being a physical battle if we played the ball on the floor,” midfielder Fran Steele ’19 said. “We did this successfully which meant that we dominated from the beginning and had a lot of possession.”
Steele went on to praise Alozie, saying that she always provided angles of support or made runs onto the back line. The tactic, she said, effectively stretched the opposition.
The praise was well-earned, especially with Alozie finding her third goal 16 minutes into the second half to notch her first career hat trick with the Bulldogs. A clean turn with the ball following a pass from defender Fallon Sheridan ’19 set Alozie up to tear past the last defender and blast a shot to the outside post for her third goal of the game.
The fourth goal came late in the second half when Steele sent a free kick into the box. After bouncing around, it met the foot of midfielder Shannon Conneely ’16, who sent it sailing over the keeper’s head.
The strong offense was matched by an equally impressive defense. Goalie Rachel Ames ’16 made six saves to maintain the clean sheet, and the defenders were able to hold back the Pioneers’ attacks. Furlong said this game was a real demonstration of the team’s ability.
“I think this really showed that we are strong on all parts of the field,” Furlong said.
The women’s soccer team will next take to the field when they take on Villanova for their first away game of the season. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11.