After a promising start to the season in which the Yale women’s soccer team matched its win total from all of last year, the Elis could not close out the last game of their nonconference slate in a 4–2 loss to Creighton.
The Bulldogs (4–3–2, 0–0 Ivy) had an early lead in the game but were ultimately bested by the Bluejays (5–1–2, 0–0 Big East), who picked up their third consecutive win while Yale failed to produce a victory for the fifth time in its last six matches.
“I think we’re a little bit disappointed and I thought we could have played a little bit better,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “We understand that we want to use these games as preparation for Princeton in order to learn and get better before next weekend.”
Creighton’s offensive attack was paced by Lauren Sullivan who tallied five points against the Elis, scoring two goals in addition to notching an assist.
Sullivan helped Creighton jump out to an early lead when the senior delivered a perfect cross to freshman Taryn Jakubowski, who tapped it in past Yale goalkeeper Jane Buckley ’20 for the first goal of the game in the sixth minute, the sixth straight match in which Yale has conceded the opening goal.
“We can’t be chasing games and giving up soft goals, we have to do a better job of starting games better,” Meredith said.
But this lead did not last long, as the Bulldogs stormed back with goals in the 21st and 24th minutes to capture a 2–1 advantage. The first goal came off a corner kick as midfielder Fran Steele ’19 sent a ball into the box that was initially shot by defender Kristina Kim ’18 but blocked by Creighton goalkeeper McKenzie Meola. Following the save, however, Meola was unable to control the ball as it took a fortuitous bounce which ended up on the foot of forward Sarah McCauley ’18, who promptly scored the equalizer.
Moments later, forward Aerial Chavarin ’20 headed home a beautiful cross delivered into the box by forward Michelle Alozie ’19 to give the Elis the lead. The goal was Chavarin’s team-leading sixth strike of the season.
“I love playing with Aerial. She has been a phenomenal partner in crime up top with me,” Alozie said. “I think since Aerial and I play so much alike, we had an instant chemistry that allowed for so many of our opportunities to happen. She is a fast, physical player that I feel is always there when I need her.”
But Creighton answered several minutes later due to a furious response from Sullivan, who scored a rather unorthodox goal. Yale’s goalkeeper seemed to be in possession of the ball but Sullivan stole it from Buckley and banged in a goal, evening the match in the 34th minute.
The teams went to halftime locked up at two, but early in the second half Sullivan did even more damage for the Bluejays. She blasted a shot home from 17 yards out, a rocket which deflected off the goalpost and into the net to give Creighton a lead that it never relinquished.
Rather than play defensively with the lead, the Bluejays continued to force the issue and scored yet again when Jakubowski found fellow freshman Jaylin Bosak all alone inside the box. Bosak received the pass and subsequently knocked home the fourth Crieghton tally.
Nevertheless, Yale kept battling and was presented with a golden opportunity for a score when a penalty kick was awarded to the Elis in the 78th minute. Chavarin strolled up to the penalty spot but could not find the twine as her shot was saved thanks to a diving effort from goalkeeper Erin Scott.
Yale managed just two more shots, neither on goal, as Creighton went on to earn the victory, thus dealing the Bulldogs their loss of the season.
Things will not get any easier for Yale, as the Elis’ next match is against Princeton this Saturday at Reese Stadium. Princeton is off to an incendiary 7–1–0 start for the season and currently has the best record of any of Yale’s remaining opponents. Princeton is the reigning Ivy League champion and will pose a tremendous test for the Bulldogs, though the Tigers did just suffer their first loss of the season to West Virginia this past weekend.
“It’s not about returning to any form we were in at any other point in the season. Every practice, every game and every day our team gets better,” McCauley said. “It’s not about the team we were last year, a month ago, yesterday or even today, but the team we will be this Saturday.”
After playing host to Princeton on Saturday, Yale’s next three games will be on the road.
Harry Browne contributed reporting.