Courtesy of Yale Athletics

Carlin Hudson ’18 is no stranger to championships. As captain of the Berkeley High School soccer team, the California native helped lead the Yellowjackets to three league championships and also captained her club team, Bay Oaks Botafogo, to two Northern California championships. But since coming to Yale, the 5-foot-9 defender has only been a part of one Bulldogs’ team that finished higher than sixth in the conference standings.

After being elected captain last December, Hudson and her team currently lay claim to a 5–0 record following a thrilling 3–2 double overtime win over Hofstra on Monday night. Their start represents the best opening mark for the Yale women’s soccer program since the 2004 squad won its first five contests, finishing 13–5–0 and earning an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“[Hudson] is the kind of captain that you will do whatever you can for,” goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “Aside from being a star on the field, she has a competitive attitude and incredible work ethic that everybody on the team feels committed to follow. Our five and zero start really demonstrates the amazing work [Hudson] has done as captain thus far; she’s vocal on and off the field, and her commitment to the team has really pushed every single one of us to work hard for one another.”

From the minute she stepped foot on campus, Hudson’s impact on the Yale women’s soccer team has been evident. Her rookie season, she started in 15 of 16 games, playing in every minute of the Bulldogs’ seven conference matches and garnered honorable mention All-Ivy accolades. But the following season, Hudson suffered a season-ending injury against Arkansas in the team’s season opener, sidelining her for the remainder of the year.

She rebounded in 2016 by starting all 16 games and winning the team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Her performance also earned her second-team All-Ivy accolades, as Yale increased both its season and conference win totals. Hudson’s defensive prowess is on display again in 2017 as the Bulldogs already own three clean sheets, the most recent a 2–0 shutout over Miami.

This year, the captain has shown off her offensive skills, too, as she opened scoring for the Bulldogs off a cross from Keri Cavallo ’19 in a 3–2 win against Sacred Heart at the end of August.

Despite Hudson’s momentous impact on the field, her greatest contribution to the team may very well come off the field, where she has instilled a winning culture that has eluded the Bulldogs in the past. Her leadership has made as much of an impact on the Elis’ success as any goal or defensive play she has made this season, teammates said.

“Having strong senior leadership has a clear and lasting impact on the team,” goalkeeper Maritza Grillo ’19 said. “[Hudson] leads by example, putting in 110 percent effort in everything she does and always striving to get better. Without her hard work and commitment to the team there is no way we would have had the success we’ve had so far.”

One particular area where Hudson’s leadership stands out is in her ability to integrate first years into the team. Yale’s highly touted class of first years has already made a big impact on the team’s performance: Midfielder Sarah Jordan ’21 and forwards Ciara Ostrander ’21 and Lydia Shaw ’21 have all scored goals in the early season for the Bulldogs.

The contributions from the rookie class go a long way in explaining why the Bulldogs sport a sterling 5–0 record this season. Last week, Jordan was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week and Shaw scored a decisive second-overtime goal off an assist from Ostrander to secure a 3–2 victory over Hofstra.

“[Hudson] has played a huge role in our amazing start to the season on and off the field,” forward Mia Grillo ’21 said. “She has sparked energy in all of us and has set the standard of a winning mentality each day we step on the pitch. Her knowledge of the game and of the University helps her build strong relationships as captain and as a friend.”

Hudson next leads the Bulldogs to Stockton, California, to face the University of the Pacific on Friday. Afterwards they face No. 2 Stanford in Palo Alto.

Will Horvathwilliam.horvath@yale.edu

Joey Kammjoseph.kamm@yale.edu | @JoeyKamm