Despite an impressive four-game win-streak in September, the Yale women’s soccer team has now lost its first two conference games after Saturday’s 1–0 road defeat to Harvard.
The Elis (5–4–1, 0–2 Ivy) played an even game with the Crimson (4–4–1, 1–0–1 Ivy) at Jordan Field in Cambridge, with Harvard slightly edging out Yale in terms of shots on goal 11–9. However, in a game with small margins, the home team pounced midway through the first half. Jillian Wachira dribbled through a Bulldog defense caught napping and ferociously struck the ball into the corner of the net. Yale tried to respond before half-time and had many well-constructed chances. Four out of the last five shots on goal in the half went the Bulldogs’ way, but Yale failed to find the back of the net. The Bulldogs are now 0–2 in the Ivy League and scrambling to find solutions for the remainder of the season.
“We got caught on our heels on one occasion,” goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “They punished us for it. That said, I think we bounced back pretty well, putting high pressure on the ball and fighting to get a goal of our own. Unfortunately, we had trouble finding gaps in the Harvard defense and did not create as many opportunities as we would have liked.”
The second half was played in a similar fashion to the first, with both teams vying for possession and searching for a moment of brilliance. The Elis nearly found theirs when defender Mahea Heimuli ’22 became open with room for a strike, only to see the ball fly just wide of Harvard goalkeeperDanielle Etzel’s net. Striker Aerial Chavarin ’20 led the rallying Bulldog attack, with three shots on goal. First year striker Saje Brar ’22 followed with two.
The Bulldogs found themselves constrained by a well-drilled Harvard team. The Crimson expertly crowded and limited space for the Elis’ offense, and its accurate passing helped retain possession.
“We are creating a decent number of chances per game,” Chavarin said. “In order to capitalize on these chances, we need to have focus and composure every time we are around the goal. Definitely easier said than done, but if we focus on having that composure around the goal this week in practice, I think we can convert our offensive chances in games.”
The Bulldogs have failed to find the net in their last two games and more than 216 minutes of gameplay. This drought comes after an impressive run in which their offense scored eight times during their four game win-streak.
Nevertheless, Yale’s season is not yet over. The defending Ivy League champions, No. 21 Princeton, who beat the Bulldogs last weekend, tied with Dartmouth on Saturday 0–0. The Elis have a crucial chance at reviving their campaign, starting with next weekend’s game against the Big Green.
“Since we have not yet scored a goal in the Ivy League, we will be focusing a lot on finishing and play in the final third this week,” midfielder Keri Cavallo ’19 said.
Yale kicks off against Dartmouth at 1 p.m. next Saturday.
Bill Gallagher | email@example.com