After their first win in a 2–0 game last Sunday against St. John’s, the Bulldogs prepare to face their first Ivy League opponent of the year, Princeton, in New Jersey this Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (1–7–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) will travel to Sherrerd Field at the Class of 1952 Stadium to play the Tigers (6–1–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) in the first Ivy matchup of the year for both teams. Yale is coming off a 2–0 home win against St. John’s on Sunday, when the Bulldogs ran the field offensively and defensively.

“Our schedule continues to get harder as we shift our focus towards hitting the road against Princeton, who has had a very good nonconference,” Yale women’s soccer head coach Sarah Martinez said. “Each training session we’ve gotten better and better, and we could feel that things were starting to click.”

Since 2008, Princeton has led the rivalry with seven wins to Yale’s four and a single tie shared between the teams. However, Yale won the most recent match between the Bulldogs and the Tigers by securing a 1–0 shutout in September 2019 on the road. Yale finished third in the Ivy League that season and was the only Ancient Eight school to defeat Princeton, which finished sixth in the league with three wins and three ties.

In 2019, Yale put early pressure on the ball, and forward Aerial Chavarin ’19 managed to score in the 17th minute with an assist from forward Mia Grillo ’22. Grillo scored against St. John’s last week and has played 274 minutes across eight games so far this season.

“It’s such great timing to get that confidence boost before we head into Ivy League play,” Grillo said after Yale’s win against St. John’s.

The Tigers received 13 votes in the most recent NCAA Division I United Soccer Coaches’ poll. Earlier this month, Princeton was ranked 22nd in the country. Before the season began, Princeton was voted third in the Ivy League women’s soccer preseason poll; Yale was voted fourth. Princeton and Yale also share a common nonconference opponent, as both teams got shut out by Hofstra in September — the Bulldogs lost 4–0, while Princeton fell 2–0.

Saturday’s game will be the Ivy League debut for nearly half of the Bulldogs’ roster, including three out of seven goalscorers this season: midfielder Ellie Rappole ’25, forward Alanna Butcher ’25 and forward Tina Teik ’25.

All Ivies were initially scheduled to play this Saturday. The University of Pennsylvania (5–1–2, 0–0–0 Ivy) will travel to Harvard (6–0-1, 0–0–0 Ivy), and Columbia (5–2–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) will also head north to Ithaca to face in-state foe Cornell (1–5–2, 0–0–0 Ivy). However, Dartmouth (4–2–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) and Brown’s (5–0–3, 0–0–0 Ivy) league opener in Providence will be postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to “COVID-19 concerns and safety protocols” within the Dartmouth program.

Princeton has won six games this season — against Loyola, Saint Joseph’s, George Mason, Rutgers, Rhode Island and Delaware — while losing to Hofstra and tying to Georgetown. In their most recent game, the Tigers defeated Delaware 4–0, with Heather MacNab lifting her season point total to 12 by scoring the third goal of the game.

“The team provided a great response today after a disappointing result [against Hofstra] on Thursday,” Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll told Princeton Athletics. “All things considered, under very hot conditions, it was exactly what we needed moving into Ivy League play.”

Princeton’s record is the best it has been in the first eight games of a season since 2017, and 12 different Tigers have already scored this season, a feat that last occurred in 2015.

Despite Princeton’s strong record, the Bulldogs are looking to come off Sunday’s win with another one, setting the tone for the rest of the season and their future Ivy matchups.

The Bulldogs’ following match will be a home game against Harvard at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Amelia Lower covers football, men's ice hockey and men's lacrosse. She is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College from Rye, New York, double-majoring in Spanish and the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health.
Hamera Shabbir covers golf and fencing for the Sports desk and the School of the Environment for the Science and Technology desk. Originally from California's Central Valley, she is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Environmental Studies.