Steve Musco

Traveling Bulldogs fans endured heartbreak as the Yale women’s soccer team fell to Dartmouth 1–0 on the road. The Big Green scored the winner with 3:56 left on the clock in the second half, leaving the Elis to walk off the pitch still winless in the Ivy league this year.

Yale (5–5–1, 0–3 Ivy League), now sitting seventh in the table, has not scored a single goal during conference play this year. Cornell, the only team behind Yale in the Ivy standings, ranks last by virtue of a 1–8–1 overall record. The Bulldogs also saw their three-year winning streak against Dartmouth fall by the wayside in the single-goal loss. The team now only has four games left to make a mark on a season of what could have been. Although, injuries have been a significant down factor, a winless conference campaign so far was certainly unexpected after last year’s 11–4–2, 4–2 Ivy, record.

“The league is crazy this year,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “Everyone is winning and beating everyone. Four or five teams are still in it. For us, the first thing is to score a goal and then win the game.”

The Bulldogs can still take positives from the game, which was more than close until full-time. Important offensive players made their mark — midfielder Noelle Higginson ’20 had three shots on goal, and striker Aerial Chavarin ’20 added another two — threatening the goal of Dartmouth’s Mariel Gordon throughout the game. Yale also had periods of sustained pressure. In the five minutes prior to conceding, the Elis had three shots on goal and two corners. Both Gordon and Yale’s own Alyssa Fagel ’20 recorded four saves in goal, as the Bulldogs managed to isolate the offensive power of dangerous star striker Remy Borinsky.

Unfortunately for the Elis, the team let slip four minutes from time when Dartmouth’s Izzy Glennon curved the ball around Fagel to win the game for the Big Green and score her first career goal in the process. Producing offense was always going to be a challenge when going up against a Dartmouth side that held defending Ivy League champions Princeton scoreless in a 0–0 tie earlier in the season.

“The Dartmouth game was another tough loss to swallow,” Fagel said. “Our level of play has been pretty consistent throughout the Ivy games: good but not good enough. We have trained hard and done a good job staying focused, regardless of the standings, so it was obviously disappointing to leave with yet another bad result.”

Yale’s last three games share a similar trend: converting chances. Last week, the Bulldogs failed to capitalize on nine opportunities against Harvard in a tightly fought encounter. The Elis also forced Princeton to make three more saves than the Tigers did against Fagel in goal. The inability to score has resulted in more than 306 minutes of play without a goal.

Moving on from the Dartmouth loss is now of the utmost importance. The Bulldogs will face Cornell in Ithaca this Saturday. The upcoming game now represents the best chance the team has to score a win during this Ivy campaign. The Big Red has not won since its first game of the season, which produced a victory over St. Bonaventure in overtime. For a Yale team that has fought valiantly and narrowly lost to second- and third-placed Dartmouth and Harvard, this game shows more promise than Yale’s previous ones.

“At this point, all we can do is prove other teams wrong,” Fagel said. “We will likely be the underdog in the rest of our games, but that does not tell the whole story. I am hopeful that we will get back on the scoresheet in our next match, and we can end the season knowing that we gave it our all and did not give up.”

Following the game against Cornell this weekend, The Elis’ remaining conference games are the first-placed Penn side at home, a 2–1, Ivy-record-holding Columbia and an unpredictable Brown on the road. To have any chance of success, momentum must build up starting from the trip to upstate New York.

Yale next kicks off against the Big Red at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Bill Gallagher | william.gallagher@yale.edu