After a statement 5–1 victory against Fairfield, the Bulldogs and head coach Brendan Faherty hope to bring their homefield momentum south as they embark on the longest road trip of their season. On Friday, the Elis face Loyola Maryland at Loyola. On Sunday, the Blue and White will compete against Virginia Tech.
The nearly 1,200 mile round trip for the Bulldogs’ (1–1–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) is the longest of the season; however, they enter their match against the Greyhounds (1–2–0, 0–1–0 Patriot) on the back of a 5–1 victory against Fairfield (2–2–0, 0–0–0 MAAC). Maryland’s leaky defense, which has conceded seven times in two games, creates a perfect opportunity for high-flying first-year striker Ellery Winkler ’23. Winkler is coming off a weekend in which she netted three goals in two matches. The unbeaten Hokies (4–0–0, 0–0–0 ACC) may prove tougher competition.
“We think over the course of our first two games we’ve done really well in the transition to attack phase, but we need to get better with our transition to defend,” Faherty said. “The ability to transition quicker, whether to win the ball back right away or to get organized behind the ball, will be a priority for us this weekend.”
Last Sunday, the Elis hit their stride in a 5–1 rout of nearby Fairfield. After Stags keeper Gena Pike denied Yale a goal from the penalty spot two minutes in, the Bulldogs rebounded as striker Aerial Chavarin ’20 converted in the 24th minute. Midfielder Noelle Higginson ’20 found the back of the net with a header in the 29th minute. Fairfield answered with a goal by Liz Dumas in the 39th minute, but the Elis built on their lead in the last minutes of the first half when Winkler scored from eight yards out. In the second half, Yale gave up nothing. Fagel denied a penalty with a dive, and the Bulldogs powered through with a goal from midfielder Reina Bonta ’21 and another from Winkler.
After scoring three goals in two appearances, Winkler received the honor of Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
“It was an exciting start to my career as a Bulldog that was only possible because of a fantastic team effort and the support of our huge crowd,” Winkler said.
Loyola is already familiar with New Haven-based opposition, having lost to Quinnipiac 3–1 last Sunday. The Bulldogs have not met the Greyhounds since a 2–1 loss in 1997. However, in this matchup between Loyola’s unsettled defense and Yale’s high-flying attack, the result could reverse this time around.
After their Friday matchup, the Elis journey farther south to take on Virginia Tech. The Hokies have continued their strong work from last season, defeating No. 17 Texas and finishing No. 21 in the nation. This year, Virginia Tech has been flirting with the top 25 in the United Soccer Coaches’ Poll. Explosive attacking playmaker Mikayla Mance leads in scoring for the Hokies with three goals this season.
Should the Bulldogs’ defense hold firm against a team that has scored 10 and only conceded one so far, Yale’s offense could create some serious chances. The team of Chavarin, Higginson, Bonta and Winkler will take on Hokie keeper Mandy McGlynn, whose three game shutout streak recently ended after Auburn converted a penalty in Sunday’s game.
Yale plays Virginia Tech for the first time in program history this weekend.
Bill Gallagher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Esther Reichek | email@example.com