WOMEN’S SOCCER: Yale defeats St. John’s in first win
On Sunday afternoon, the Bulldogs conquered St. John’s in a 2–0 game, clinching their first victory of the season and head coach Sarah Martinez’s first win leading the team.
The Bulldogs won their first game of the season last Sunday in a 2–0 matchup against St. John’s University. The Blue and White will look to extend the winning streak as they head into Ivy play next weekend.
The Bulldogs (1–7–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) faced the Thunderbirds (4–2–1, 0–0–0 Big East) at Reese Stadium, for Yale’s fourth home and final non-conference game of the season. The Yale women’s soccer team led throughout the game and outshot Saint John’s 10–6.
“The joy felt by our entire team on the field post-game was something I will never forget,” head coach Sarah Martinez said. “We’ve been getting closer and closer to putting together a full performance, and today was a great showing by our team.”
St. John’s entered the game off a 3–0 win against the University of Delaware on Sept. 9 and a season of strong shooting, firing 13 shots in their previous 4–0 game against Lehigh on Sept. 2. They also defeated New Jersey Institute of Technology on Aug. 19 and Saint Joseph’s University on Aug. 22.
The Bulldogs started off the game with a corner kick and shot by forward Tina Teik ’25 in the eighth minute. Another corner was inserted in the 15th minute by midfielder Chloe Laureano ’24, and midfielder Ellie Rappole ’25 took a shot, ultimately blocked by the Thunderbirds. Forward Ellery Winkler ’23 took another shot in the 18th minute, which was saved by SJU goalie Naya Lipkens.
SJU made an effort to stay on the attack, with a wide shot made by Frederique St. Jean, a high shot by Jessica Garziano and an attempt by Emily Purtell, saved by Yale goalkeeper Annie Welch ’25. In the 38th minute, midfielder Rebeka Róth ’25 made an attempt on goal after another corner kick by Yale.
Finally, in the 44th minute, forward Emily Yin ’22 took the ball up the middle of the field and passed to forward Alanna Butcher ’25 on her right, who avoided a defender and crossed the ball to forward Mia Grillo ’22 inside the 18-yard box. Grillo then made a one-touch kick to top shelf, earning Yale its first goal of the game.
“Defeating a strong team like St. John’s felt amazing and, of course, really good to finally get our first win,” Grillo said. “We’ve deserved it for a while now [and] a win like that took all 31 of us to be bought in.”
The Bulldogs started out the second half with Teik taking a shot, saved by Lipkins. In the 50th minute, Welch saved another shot on goal by SJU’s Garziano. A few minutes later during a free kick on a foul, Laureano made an off-angle direct hit into the upper corner on the opposite side of the goal, raising Yale’s tally count to two and marking her first goal of the season and third of her collegiate career.
In the 61st minute, a series of turnovers led to three wide shots: one by Yale defender Nana Yang ’25, the second by Thunderbird Brooke Boyd and the final by Bulldog defender Giana Pittaro ’23. Yet, the scoreboard remained at 2–0.
In the final five minutes of game play, officials issued yellow cards to Grillo and Winkler. Winkler closed out the match by blocking an SJU attempt on goal in the final minute.
“We finally clicked and had a great team win,” Teik said. “Every player contributed and we got a result.”
By the end of the game, Yale took six corners, in comparison with SJU’s two, and Welch made a total of two saves.
After a series of losses, the Bulldogs’ win against St. John’s comes at a critical point, with conference play commencing next weekend and games against Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth and Cornell in the coming month.
“As Ivy League play starts, it’s a new season,” Martinez said. “It was great to get some momentum and confidence heading into conference play.”
Yale will face Princeton on Sept. 25 at Princeton Stadium in New Jersey for its first matchup in Ivy play.