The Yale women’s soccer team conceded two goals early in the first half at Penn on Saturday — a trend consistent with the Elis’ last four losses. The Bulldogs managed to get on the scoreboard in the last 10 minutes, but were unable to equalize the score before the final whistle, falling 2–1 in the conference contest.
This marks the third straight loss for Yale (4–8–2, 1–4–0 Ivy), making this stretch the team’s longest losing streak this season. The Bulldogs remain seventh in the Ivy League, with Dartmouth — the Elis’ only conference win — claiming the eighth spot.
“Once again, the team worked really hard, but when you go down two goals early, it’s tough to come back,” midfielder Maggie Furlong ’18 said. “We ended up scoring later on and everyone was really excited, but we need that energy to be there from the get-go for the next two games.”
The Quakers (6–3–5, 1–1–3) scored in the 14th minute of the game when a Penn corner kick found midfielder Allie Trzaska, whose header put the ball in the back of the net. Less than six minutes later, defender Caroline Dwyer beat goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 in a one-on-one to take the early 2–0 lead.
Penn held on to that margin until the 82nd minute, when forward Michelle Alozie ’19 fired a shot just under the crossbar from 25 yards out — the sixth goal this season from the freshman.
Yale’s defense has suffered from first-half goals recently, without the early offense to make up for it. In the past five games, the Elis’ opponents have outscored them 8–0, forcing Yale to play from behind for much of the game.
“We give up goals too early in games,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “Six out of our eight losses we’ve given up a goal in the first 15, 30 minutes of the game. When we don’t do that we usually do pretty well. We have to mentally focus and concentrate on the first 20 minutes so we don’t have to chase the game afterwards.”
In addition to those early goals, the Quakers were able to maintain the ball in Yale’s third for the majority of the game, with the stats to back up their domination. The Elis managed only four shots on net to Penn’s eight, while the Quakers outshot the Bulldogs in total 12–6.
Penn’s defense was just as aggressive as its attack, committing nine fouls while allowing Alozie’s goal only when the Elis did not have enough time to mount a full comeback.
“By the time we switched on and started playing well, it was too late,” Ames said. “[Alozie] did a great job of creating an opportunity and taking a nice shot to put us on the board, but our efforts to tie the game were unsuccessful.”
Yale went into the game knowing that it would have to put up a fight to find the back of the net. Penn goalkeeper Carrie Crook is second in the Ivy League in goals against average, having conceded just seven goals over the 12-game season. Yale is one of four teams to break Penn’s clean sheets in the last month.
The Bulldogs will take on Columbia next, and according to Meredith, they will be working hard this week in practice to make sure they limit additional defensive lapses.
“We’ll look at film tonight and see how [Columbia is] playing,” Meredith said Sunday. “Mostly, we’re going to focus on what we need to do to make sure to start off the game better.”
Yale will be taking to the road once more next Saturday afternoon, when they meet the Lions at 4 p.m.