Heading into their first game of the conference season, the Yale women’s soccer team is looking to build on their impressive season so far.
The Bulldogs (6-2-0, 0-0-0 Ivy) are coming off a four-game win streak, with recent games against Northeastern and CCSU demonstrating the squad’s resilience and dominance under pressure. This Saturday, the team hopes to carry this same fire into their first Ivy face-off against powerhouse Princeton, who shared the Ivy League Championship title with the University of Pennsylvania last year.
“With the Princeton game this weekend, we are determined to be as strong as possible in every area of the game,” captain and goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “One goal can make a huge difference, so we are focused on staying composed in the back and hungry up top, both on restarts and from open play.”
The team’s growth mindset is a large part of their recent success, as both Fagel and head coach Brendan Faherty have emphasized how improvable the team is and how willing they are to ask questions and apply changes in games. This desire to learn and develop as players has had tangible benefits on the field; in just eight games, the Bulldogs have netted an outstanding 19 goals. Forward Aerial Chavarin ’20 and striker Ellery Winkler ’23 lead the pack with five goals each. On the other end of the field, Fagel has enjoyed huge success in goal, with two shutouts in the last four games.
As the squad prepares to take on the Tigers (3-3-2, 0-0-0 Ivy) this weekend, they will face challengers like midfielder Courtney O’Brien, who leads her teammates with four tallies and continues to make threatening plays up the field every game. To prepare, Yale has remained focused on fundamentals in training.
“This week at training we are focused on improving our rhythm on both sides of the ball,” Faherty said. “For us, when we are in our rhythm defensively we are able to repress and win the ball back quickly. Attacking-wise it means that we are making the field big, connecting passes and creating dangerous opportunities down the flanks.”
Yale will then take on Harvard (6-2-0, 0-0-0 Ivy) at Reese Stadium next Saturday, looking to reverse last year’s game, which the Crimson won 1-0. Coming off a three-game win streak, and with 21 total goals this season, the Cambridge side will pose a worthy threat against the Bulldogs in their second conference game. Forward Angela Caloia and midfielder Sophie Hirst have both found the back of the net four times this season to add to their team’s overall tally.
Yale will need to maintain their cool heading into the next few weeks, as they have proved they can do in their recent nail biters against Northeastern and Central Connecticut State. Whether by pulling out a winning goal in the last five minutes of double OT against the Huskies, or staying aggressive and finding three goals in a shutout against the Blue Devils, the Bulldogs have shown their resilience and hunger to improve.
“We are approaching the Princeton game just like every other one we’ve had: each game has been the biggest of our season,” Winkler said. “Starting Ivy League play is exciting, but we know that all we can control is our own performance.”
Yale and Princeton will play this Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Tigers’ home pitch.
Alessa Kim-Panero | email@example.com