Fresh off its dazzling display against Harvard, the Yale women’s soccer team faces the next member of the Ivy League rainbow — the Big Green of Dartmouth — this Saturday.
The Elis (7–3–1, 1–1–0 Ivy) blew by a shellshocked Crimson (6–5–0, 0–2–0) in a historic 3–0 win. Not only did Yale break a nine-year winless streak against Harvard with the victory; the Bulldogs also snapped a three-game scoreless run over the last few weeks. Facing a Dartmouth (5–6–0, 0–2–0) team that has yet to post a win or tie in Ivy play, Yale is well positioned this weekend to move up the league standings and remain just three points behind the conference favorite, No. 11 Princeton (10–1–0, 2–0–0).
“Our success is based off our attack, and the way we move forward,” defender and captain Carlin Hudson ’18 said. “If we keep possessing like we did [against Harvard] and keep this passion, we can continue to be effective. Now that we have a win under our belts, it feels good to get back into that driver’s seat again. We just need to take care of business on our end and hope the chips fall into place.”
Despite its poor showing in conference thus far, the Big Green enters New Haven with momentum from one of its best performances of the season. After a four-game losing streak that included a 1–0 overtime loss against Brown and a 2–0 loss to the Tigers, Dartmouth snapped its slide Monday in a 2–0 win versus UMass Lowell.
In that fixture, Dartmouth looked imperious. Led by first-team all-Ivy midfielder Remy Borinsky, who notched her fifth goal of the season in the match, the Big Green took 11 shots while limiting the River Hawks to a lone attempt. However, that victory did not reflect the overall pattern of the team’s season.
Throughout the campaign, Dartmouth’s defense has been porous, keeping just three clean sheets and conceding the second-most goals in the Ivy League with 14. While Yale leads in the goals conceded category with 15, seven of those came in a loss to No. 2 Stanford.
With forward Michelle Alozie ’19 taking an average of more than four shots per game, Dartmouth’s rookie keeper Mariel Gordon will have a much busier day than she did against UMass Lowell. Gordon has made 42 saves, the second most in the Ivy League, but her save percentage is second to last and will likely only worsen as she faces a potent Eli attack.
During Yale’s four-game winless stretch ahead of the Harvard victory, a certain timidity permeated through the Bulldogs’ performances. The team seemed to concede superiority right from kickoff to its opponents. But the rivalry match against the Crimson reawakened Yale’s self-confidence and allowed it to take over at home.
“In the past we would always keep the ball in the [middle] third and never move up with the ball,” Alozie said. “I think [against Harvard] we really focused on going forward because we have the speed and we have the technique. We just went at them with everything we have.”
With quick ball movement, a wide range of passing and confidence taking on defenders, the Elis attack exuded class against the Crimson. Returning to Reese Stadium this weekend to host a Dartmouth team with an abysmal 1–5 record away from home, Yale faces ideal conditions to recapture last Saturday’s magic.
The Bulldogs currently sit tied for fourth in the Ivy League with Brown, but a win this weekend against the last-place Big Green would catapult them toward the top of the table. With first-place Princeton facing Brown and co-leader Columbia playing third-place Penn, Yale has an opportunity to move up the standings, as at least two of those teams are guaranteed to drop points.
“[The Harvard game was] huge, and hopefully we can just keep winning through the Ivies,” midfielder Noelle Higginson ’20 said. “Hopefully Princeton will slip up, but regardless, we’ll do everything we can to finish up this season strong.”
Yale and Dartmouth kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Reese Stadium.
Caleb Rhodes | firstname.lastname@example.org