Courtesy of Steve Musco

In their first Ivy League win of the season, the Yale women’s soccer team beat Cornell in a 1–0 battle on the road this Saturday.

After a frustrating start to the conference season where the Bulldogs (6–5–1, 1–3–0 Ivy) lost to Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth without scoring a single goal, the team returned to New Haven with three points in the bag. The win over the Big Red (1–10–1, 0–4–0) lifted the Elis to sixth in the conference, leaping above Brown by virtue of a better overall record. Cornell remains dead last — still searching for its first win since its opening game of the season.

“It feels great to get our first Ivy win,” goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “Furthermore, this was the first time any player on our team has beaten Cornell, so we were pretty excited to leave Ithaca with three points. Something that has been key for our team is the fact that everybody is staying motivated. Regardless of our record, everybody who stepped onto the field showed a clear desire to work hard and have the result reflect our performance.”

The all-important goal came three minutes before halftime. Striker Aerial Chavarin ’20 leapt high above the Big Red defense to nod home an inch-perfect corner kick from fellow striker Ciara Ostrander ’21. Chavarin’s goal was the Elis’ first in 27 days — which included 393 minutes of game time.

During the game, the Bulldogs bettered the Big Red in nearly every statistical category. Midfielder Keri Cavallo ’19 and Chavarin led the team in shots on goal with three apiece. Yale outshot Cornell 10–9, but more importantly had eight shots on target as opposed to the two from the struggling hosts. Additionally, Fagel only had to make two saves in the shutout while Cornell’s goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy made seven stops. Finally, the Elis’ three corner kicks, as opposed to the opposition’s two, also proved to be crucial for scoring purposes.

“We did a good job of keeping possession of the ball, which made them chase the game,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “We scored the goal first and forced them to take the game to us. The shutout also helps the defense and the team’s morale.”

Coming into the match, Meredith had never gone four years without a win against the Big Red while no member of this year’s squad had toppled Cornell in the past. This was the tenth consecutive game between the two opponents in which the result was decided by a solitary goal or the game ended in a draw.

The Elis will next play at Delaware State on Wednesday before returning to Reese Stadium to face league-leading Penn. Given the Bulldogs’ victory against the Big Red, the question shifts to what the team can do to maintain the momentum it has garnered.

“It was awesome to finally score a goal since we haven’t in a few games,” Ostrander said. “I could tell before the game started that the team had a different vibe and a more positive mentality going in. We have been practicing set pieces for a while in practice now, especially corner kicks and it felt extremely rewarding that it finally paid off.”

On Wednesdays, the Elis take on a Hornets side that has not won a game since early September. Such a paltry record suggests that the Bulldogs are ripe for another offensive showing as they seek to improve upon their recent win. The game may also potentially offer another confidence boost prior to the Elis’ upcoming match against the Quakers — who are undefeated in conference.

Wednesday’s game against Delaware State is at 7 p.m in Dover, while Saturday’s game versus Penn will take place at 1 p.m in New Haven.

Bill Gallagher | .