In a game uncannily indicative of the season as a whole, the Yale women’s soccer team conceded two early goals on Saturday and, despite a quick response, were unable to come back before the final whistle.
Brown (7–7–2, 3–3–1 Ivy) found the back of the net twice early on, producing two goals before the 18-minute mark. Less than a minute later, the Bulldogs (4–10–2, 1–6–0) drew a foul in the box and midfielder Sofia Griff ’19 finished the penalty to cut the deficit in half. Though Yale controlled the pace of play from that point forward, the Elis could not find the equalizing goal to send the game into overtime.
“I think we started the game with a very high level of determination and energy,” goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 said. “We controlled the game for the first 20 minutes or so, but unfortunately made two small errors that resulted in goals.”
The Elis have struggled against set pieces all season long and Brown was able to take advantage of that trend to net the first goal of the night. Exactly 12 minutes into the game, the Bears went up 1–0 on a corner kick, making it the eighth time the Bulldogs have conceded a goal off a corner. The Bears’ second goal came less than six minutes later, when Erin Katz fired a shot from well inside the 18-yard box to extend the margin to two.
Immediately following Katz’s strike, it was a senior that initiated the Yale attack. Forward Paula Hagopian ’16 made it into the Brown box before being brought down illegally, allowing Griff to capitalize on the penalty kick.
“Another tough loss but the team worked so hard which was always great to see,” midfielder Maggie Furlong ’18 said. “The seniors really came together for their last game and played so well together but we had two unfortunate slips. The work ethic was the strongest it has been all season which was a great way to finish out.”
Griff is one of the many bright spots for the Elis’ future. A very consistent season placed her fifth in the final Ivy League leaderboard in points with 16.
Additionally, Griff tied with forward and fellow newcomer Michelle Alozie ’19 for a team-leading six goals.
“Unfortunately we didn’t end the season the way we wanted, but it was still a great game and everyone played with such heart,” Griff said. “[The seniors] have been incredible mentors and they will be missed next year.”
Saturday’s contest doubled as Senior Day, as the graduating class of seven players was honored at Reese Stadium. Hagopian and Ames were recognized alongside captain and defender Ally Grossman ’16, defender Christina Bradley ’16, midfielder Shannon Conneely ’16, defender Ana Keusch ’16 and midfielder Eliza Loring ’16 before kickoff.
The class combined for a 27–29–9 overall record for the Bulldogs’ past four seasons, leaving players like Ames with a mix of emotions, knowing that their collegiate careers have concluded.
“I can’t put into words how lucky I am to have been given the chance to play at an institution like Yale and I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable or touching senior night to go out with,” Ames said. “I’ve never known anything other than being an athlete, so closing this chapter in my life is pretty difficult.”
Ames topped the Ivy League in saves in the 2015 campaign, finishing with 78. She finished three saves ahead of counterpart Christine Etzel, Brown’s keeper.
The contest also marked the final game for Brown head coach Phil Pincince, who retired after 39 years of leading the Bears. Yale head coach Rudy Meredith, who earned his 200th victory on Oct. 10 and has completed 21 seasons at the helm of the Elis, will take over as the longest-tenured head coach in the Ivy League.