Following two strong games on the road, the Bulldogs and newly appointed head coach Brendan Faherty, return to Reese Stadium for a Thursday game against Fordham. On Sunday, Yale is away again, traveling to Moon Township, Pennsylvania to meet Robert Morris.
The Elis (2–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) take on the Rams (1–4–1, 0-–0–0 Atlantic 10), with an attacking force primed for action after narrowly losing to No. 23 Virginia Tech (6–0–0, 0–0–0 ACC) last Sunday. Striker Aerial Chavarin ’20 leads the line against Fordham’s shaky defense, which has conceded 17 goals in its opening six games. On Sunday, the Bulldogs confront the Colonials (1–3–1, 0–0–0 Northeast) in a rematch after last year’s 2–1 victory.
“As we head into our next two games, the group has a lot of enthusiasm and belief based on how we have performed in our first four matches,” Faherty said. “It’s still early in the season, and we are constantly evaluating our student-athletes in hopes that competition at training can raise the level of each individual, which will help our team grow as a group.”
Last weekend, Yale seized control of both its games early on. Against Loyola on Friday, Chavarin’s header in the sixth minute opened up the game. Minutes later, Hannah Hoef converted a penalty for an equalizer, but the Bulldogs continued to dominate the half. A goal by midfielder Noelle Higginson ’20 and another from Chavarin sealed a 3–1 victory.
In Sunday’s game, the Blue and White challenged the Hokies, and Chavarin continued her purple patch, scoring midway through the first period. Yale’s goal sent nationally-ranked Virginia Tech behind for the first time all season, but the advantage did not last. Hokie star Nicole Kozlova brought the hosts back into the fixture as she netted two in the second half, giving Virginia Tech the game, 2–1.
After a weekend of exciting play, Chavarin now leads the Elis with four goals, leapfrogging rookie phenom Ellery Winkler ’23. Meanwhile, captain and goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 has marshalled the Bulldogs’ defensive efforts.
“The team is super excited to get back on the field this week,” Fagel said. “One of our goals this season is to focus on one game at a time, so at the moment, all our attention is set on playing well and getting a positive result against Fordham. Following the loss at Virginia Tech, we have a better sense of where our gaps lie defensively, and I am excited to see the positive strides we make as a team this week in practice.”
Fordham is coming off a scoreless tie with Lehigh, which has yet to win a game this season. If the Rams’ offense remains stagnant, the Eli midfield and offense should have ample opportunity and time with the ball to craft their own odds. In addition to Chavarin and Higginson, first-year strikers Winkler and Chloe Laureano ’23 have been creating dangerous chances for the Blue and White. Last year, Yale bested Fordham 1–0.
On Sunday, the Elis travel south to face Robert Morris. The Colonials will face Yale in the second of their weekend games, after a road game against Ohio University on Friday. Thus far, the Colonials have conceded eight goals, while only scoring seven themselves. In comparison, the Bulldogs have scored 10 times and conceded six goals. The relatively weak offenses on deck this weekend afford the Bulldog defense an opportunity to keep its first clean sheet of the year.
The Bulldogs kick off against Fordham under the lights of Reese Stadium at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
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