With just three matches left in the season, the Yale women’s soccer team is looking to build on a three-game winning streak and continue its bid for the Ivy League title.
The Bulldogs (10–3–0, 3–1–0 Ivy) and head coach Brendan Faherty most recently faced off against Cornell, dominating the offense for the whole match and finally defeating the Big Red 1–0 to snag their third conference win. This weekend, Yale will meet Penn in Philadelphia for its first away game since Sept. 28. With just three conference games left for the Elis, every matchup is crucial to their hunt for the Ancient Eight crown.
“Our team has trained so hard all season and as we head into the final part of the season, it is rewarding to see how much we have improved in all aspects of the game,” captain and goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “With such a short season, every game is so important. We know what is at stake this Saturday, and we are ready to play hard and hopefully finish the game with another positive result.”
Last Saturday, the Bulldogs took on Cornell (4–7–1, 0–4–0) in the last of a string of home matches, soundly defeating the Big Red in all aspects of their game. Yale outshot its opponents 22–2, consistently playing the ball up the field and allowing very few chances for Cornell to make advances. The squad’s patience was rewarded when forward Lydia Shaw ’21 fed a ball up to striker Aerial Chavarin ’20, who bested two defenders and the Big Red keeper to score the single tally of the match. Fagel only had to make one save in the last minute of the game to post her fifth shutout of the season.
The Cornell game was a milestone for Yale, marking its tenth win of the season in just 13 games. In the last 10 years, the team has reached 10 wins in a season only twice.
“Cornell was a difficult team to break down,” striker Ellery Winkler ’23 said. “Ultimately, our determination and fight until the end allowed us to earn our tenth win of the season and third of Ivy League play. It’s exciting to reach that benchmark, but now our focus is shifted to getting another big Ivy win against Penn this weekend.”
This Saturday, Yale will meet Penn (8–4–1, 2–2–0) in Philadelphia for its fifth conference game. In their last matchup, the Quakers edged out the Bulldogs in a 2–1 win, with both opposing goals scored by attacking playmaker Emily Sands. With four goals and five assists this season, Sands again poses a threat to the Eli defense. Penn went on to tie with Princeton for the Ivy title last season, but if Yale finds a win this weekend, it will all but end the Quaker bid for this year’s championship.
Over the next two weekends, Yale will close out its season with games against Columbia (8–3–2, 2–1–1) and Brown (11–1–1, 4–0–0). The Lions have had a strong showing this season, scoring a collective 20 goals with only 12 goals against their defense so far. This past weekend, Columbia and Princeton tied 1–1 in a frustrating match that went to double overtime. Yale hopes to reverse the result of last year’s matchup, which saw the Lions prevail 2–0. In their final game, the Bulldogs will return home to Reese Stadium to take on Brown, the current conference table toppers. Undefeated in the Ivy League so far, the Bears prove to be the greatest threat to Yale’s winning streak. For now, however, the Elis will keep their focus on this weekend’s Quaker clash.
“Our mantra has been the same all season — the next game is the most important one of the year,” Faherty said. “The opponent changes, as does the location, it could be a non-conference game or an Ivy League game, but that’s not our focus. Instead, we need to continue to get better, and it’s our responsibility as a coaching staff to put our student-athletes in the best position to find success on game day. We have been fortunate to play our last four games at Reese, but I’m excited for the challenge of going on the road to Philadelphia.”
Yale kicks off against Penn at Rhodes Field at 4 p.m. this Saturday.
Alessa Kim-Panero | firstname.lastname@example.org