With the Ivy League season almost at its midpoint, the Yale women’s soccer team hopes to pull out its second-consecutive win against fellow Ancient Eight member, Cornell.
The Big Red (8–1–4, 1–1–1 Ivy) will travel down to New Haven carrying with them an impressive feat. In 13 contests thus far, Cornell has conceded just three goals. The team’s 0.216 goals-against average is number one in not only the Ivy League but in all of NCAA Division I women’s soccer.
Yale (4–5–2, 1–2–0), on the other hand, ranks last in the conference in goals allowed per game while sitting tied for sixth in the league with four shutouts. Despite the impressive statistics of Cornell’s stellar defense, the Elis are more focused on inflating those numbers.
“I don’t think that Cornell’s stats are in our heads as much as our opponent might want them to be,” midfielder Geneva Decker ’17 said. “We obviously all know that they’ve achieved the feat, but what we’re focused on is making that ‘goals against’ stat even higher than three goals [for Cornell].”
Where both teams find common ground statistically is in the league standings. Cornell, five points behind the league leaders, and Yale, six points behind, have just four conference games left to contend for the Ivy League championship.
Despite being a spot behind the Big Red in the table, the Bulldogs made up ground last weekend with a 1–0 victory against Dartmouth while Cornell fell in a 2–0 match against Harvard. Prior to that defeat, Cornell was the last remaining undefeated team in the NCAA, outlasting each of the 332 other teams in the NCAA. But with both teams focused on conference results only at this point in the season, the Elis are hoping to build upon their Dartmouth victory and gain some momentum in the Ivy League.
“[The team] is just going to stay composed,” forward Michelle Alozie ’19 said. “We know how we play soccer, and it showed during our game versus Dartmouth last week, so we are ready to give them what we are made of.”
Alozie remains the top goal scorer for the Yale team with five on the season, while midfielders Sofia Griff ’19 and Keri Cavallo ’19 are not far behind with four and three goals, respectively. Defender and captain Ally Grossman ’16 leads the team in assists with five, good for second-most in the Ivy League.
While Cornell’s defense has been the best statistically in the conference, its offense has lagged far behind. Cornell ranks sixth in the league in goals per game and the Big Red have been shut out in three consecutive contests.
As one of five remaining teams in the country with just one loss, Cornell remains a formidable opponent for Yale, but the Bulldogs believe their best play is still ahead of them.
“At this point in our season, we are doing a much better job of possessing the ball and communicating as a team,” defender Hannah Coy ’18 said. “If we can keep this going, we will get the results that we need.”
History is on Yale’s side, as it has defeated Cornell in each of its past four meetings. However, this is the first time in 13 years that Cornell will finish the season with a winning record.
Kickoff between the Ivy counterparts is slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday at Reese Stadium.