The Yale women’s soccer team stepped onto the field at Reese Stadium with high hopes for the upcoming Ivy League campaign but left in disarray after a 3–0 defeat to No. 21 Princeton.
Prior to the game, the Bulldogs (5–3–1, 0–1–0 Ivy) had racked up four straight wins at home, despite the loss of two key players: captain Brittany Simpson ’19 and main goalscoring threat Michelle Alozie ’19. Yale stood strong for 44 minutes and 40 seconds, but a goal before halftime opened the floodgates for Princeton (6–2–1, 1–0–0 Ivy).
“Princeton was just cleaner in both boxes, scoring three of the few opportunities they had, and preventing us from doing the same,” goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said.
The Elis had a promising first-half against the defending Ivy League champions. The Bulldogs best chance of the half came when Aerial Chavarin ’20 headed a Kiki Lobben ’20 cross that needed saving by the Tigers’ goalkeeper Natalie Grossi.
Despite the offensive opportunities and a solid defensive back line, the Elis could not make it to the half unscathed. Princeton’s first-team All-Ivy striker Mimi Asom prodded an unfortunate rebound home 20 seconds before the end of the half.
“Conceding a goal in the last 30 seconds of the first half really changed the momentum of the game,” Fagel said. “Until that point, we were clean, organized and confident: It was great to see such clear determination on the field, as well as all our hard practices paying off. The scoreline does not necessarily reflect our performance.”
The score went from bad to worse for the Bulldogs when Asom scored her second of the day just seven minutes into the second half. Her deflection off of a Tiger corner fooled the Bulldog defense and gave Princeton a 2–0 lead.
While Asom’s first two goals involved luck, the star forward showed individual brilliance in scoring her hat-trick goal. Her spectacular finish came about after she wove through the Elis’ back line that was caught in transition. Asom now has eight goals this season, which add to the more than 40 she has scored during her four-year career.
Even before the game, Yale was aware the attacking threat posed by the Tigers and their lead star.
“The Tigers have dangerous offensive players that we need to keep track of, and their defense will also try to minimize our scoring opportunities,” said defender Kristen Enriquez ’21.
The Bulldogs came agonizingly close to pulling a goal back when striker Ciara Ostrander ’21 hit the crossbar in the second half.
But the Elis must now move on from this disappointing result and onwards to their fixture against Harvard in Cambridge this Saturday. The Crimson are 3–4–1 on the year and tied with Penn 0–0 to open up their conference play.
“With Harvard next weekend, there is no doubt that we are going to be motivated to get a good result.” Fagel said. “Our team has overcome so much adversity this season, but through it all we have trained hard and stayed focused. If we can avoid making the small mistakes against Harvard, I truly believe that we can be successful in the match.”
Kickoff against Harvard is at 7 p.m.
Bill Gallagher | email@example.com