The Yale women’s soccer team is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. The Bulldogs won both of their games last week and can extend their win streak to four — they face off against Northeastern in Boston on Thursday before returning home to host Central Connecticut State University on Sunday.
The Elis (4–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) hope to use their last two fixtures of their nonconference schedule to get ready for what is sure to be a challenging Ivy slate. Princeton, the traditional powerhouse among the Ancient Eight, looms just over the horizon next week. Nevertheless, matches against the Huskies (3–4–0, 0–0–0 Colonial) and Blue Devils (2–2–3, 0–0–0 NEC) are not guaranteed victories for the rising Blue and White.
“We haven’t really started thinking about [even] the CCSU game yet,” goalkeeper and captain Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “We are focused on taking this season one game at a time so right now the only thing on our mind is the game at Northeastern. We are coming off of a two-win weekend so our confidence is high going into Thursday.”
Goals have been free flowing for head coach Brendan Faherty’s team in the early goings of the season — The Elis netted 14 times in six games. For the Bulldogs to stand a decent chance against a Northeastern side that has won all of its games at home this season, including a 4–1 thrashing of Harvard, more tallies must continue to pour in. Veteran forward Aerial Chavarin ’20 leads the line with five goals on the year, followed by up-and-coming first-year striker Ellery Winkler ’23 with four.
Northeastern, hailing from the so-called City of Champions, boasts a few star players of its own. Striker Chelsea Dromond has demonstrated a keen eye for the goal, both scoring and assisting twice. Defensively minded midfielder Kerri Zerfoss has also scored twice in five starts.
“Our focus is going to be on being better in the attacking and defending third,” Faherty said. “We have shown some very good attacking play, but I believe we still have plenty of room for growth, especially with our combination play to get in behind the opponents back four. Defensively I think our group has done really well, but we have a lot of new faces in our back six field positions. Each student-athlete that plays in those positions is still learning individual traits to help them find more success while also how to work better as a group, especially in the transition to defend phase.”
The Bulldogs then return home to Reese Stadium to face off against Central, a side that has been stuck in the mud with two road draws in a row. Despite recent failures to get the job done, midfielder Roma McLaughlin has shone bright, scoring on four occasions already this season. On Sept. 10, she earned the honor of NEC Player of the Week for her efforts in front of goal.
Yale undoubtedly will look to stifle McLaughlin’s threat by using its most recent home game as an example. The Bulldogs earned their first clean sheet of the season last Sunday at Reese against Fordham in a 2–0 triumph. The Eli defense showed its ability to withstand phases of pressure in the first half while the offense converted its two chances at the other end.
“I thought the second half of both games, we did a much better job with our pressing and repressing which led to some great opportunities in front of the opponent’s goal,” Faherty said after the game.
Yale kicks off against Northeastern at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Boston.
Bill Gallagher | firstname.lastname@example.org