The Yale women’s soccer team bested Princeton 1–0 on Saturday to kick off its conference play and extend its winning streak to five.
The Bulldogs (7–2–0, 1–0–0 Ivy) and head coach Brendan Faherty traveled to New Jersey to defeat the reigning Ivy League champion Tigers (3–4–2, 0–1–0 Ivy) 1–0 in their first game of the conference slate. Striker Aerial Chavarin ’20 scored the lone goal of the game in the 17th minute. The Elis’ backline, led by goalkeeper and captain Alyssa Fagel ’20, fought long and hard to hold an aggressive Princeton side scoreless. Their work paid off, as the Bulldogs posted a second straight shutout and started their Ivy campaign with a victory.
“For the first time since I’ve been here, we are starting off Ivy play with a win,” Fagel said. “To go on the road and take down Princeton on their own field felt incredible. It was a huge team effort, from our staff to our bench, and I think we made a statement that we are here to compete this year.”
The Bulldogs started the battle with ferocity. The first few minutes of the game saw shots by midfielders Chloe Laureano ’23 and Noelle Higginson ’20. The quick pace of play reaped rewards for the Blue and White, as Chavarin scored soon after with a shot across the box, assisted by forward Mia Grillo ’21. After Chavarin secured the advantage, the Tigers responded with five shots in the remainder of the first period. With the momentum on Princeton’s side, Madison Curry forced Fagel to make two close saves. However, Yale kept its 1–0 lead
It was Chavarin’s sixth goal of the season.
“Winning the first conference game felt great,” Chavarin said. “I am proud of how we all battled from start to finish. We had high energy and focus throughout the entire week leading up to Princeton, which definitely translated into how we played. It’s exciting to watch our hard work pay off and I am hopeful that we will continue this focus, preparation and hard work for our next game. I am excited about this team.”
Coming back for the second half, Yale again took control of the game. Within the first minutes of the half, Chavarin headed a corner from Laureano, forcing Princeton keeper Natalie Grossi to keep her shot from the back of the net. Princeton did not take the pressure off, as the team took three more shots shortly thereafter. Striker Ellery Winkler ’23 and forward Lydia Shaw ’21 responded with two more lethal opportunities, both of which Grossi fended off. Each side continued creating chances for the rest of the period but failed to convert.
By the end of the game, Yale’s offense had nearly matched the Princeton side in shots, 13–14. Meanwhile, the Elis’ backline still stood strong following 90 full minutes of play.
“I truly feel our non-conference games, and not so much the results, but more the performances, have given our student-athletes a lot of confidence heading into the second half of the season,” Faherty said. “Most of all, I am happy for each of them, that they were able to enjoy such a great moment as teammates and friends at Princeton on Saturday.”
This win reflects the immense success that Yale women’s soccer has had so far this season. In just nine games, the squad has totaled 20 goals, and Fagel has posted three shutout games. After falling to Princeton 3–0 in last year’s game, this comeback was well-earned. In training, the team has remained focused on fundamentals. Faherty has said that in their practices, the squad works on strengthening their rhythm and widening the field in order to make long, connecting passes leading into dangerous plays for the defense. The Bulldogs continue to focus on one game, one practice at a time — being present has allowed them to commit fully to their performances and play their best every day.
Looking ahead to this Saturday, Yale prepares to take on Harvard (7–2–0, 1–0–0 Ivy) in their second conference game. The Elis will bring their strategic play and teamwork into this weekend’s game as they face a worthy challenger. Looking further ahead, the squad will face off against Albany on Oct. 8 and Dartmouth on Oct. 12. Now more than halfway through the regular season, Yale hopes to carry this energy into its upcoming matches.
“We’ve had time to enjoy this victory, and now we refocus,” Fagel said. “We are hoping to continue this momentum through a productive week of training, and then continue to battle next weekend when we have our first home game of conference play.”
Yale kicks off against Harvard at Reese Stadium this Saturday at 7 p.m. The Crimson beat the Elis 1–0 in last year’s edition of the rivalry.
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