WOMEN’S SOCCER: Yale off the mark in undefeated season start
With two goals and one assist from Ellie Rappole ’25 against Quinnipiac, the Bulldogs start the season undefeated with a .833 win percentage.
Before most students returned to campus, the Yale women’s soccer team (1–0–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) was already off to a flying start, picking up one win and a draw from two home games.
The Blue and White started their season on Aug. 20, lacing up to trounce Manhattan College (0–1–0, 0–0–0 MAAC) 3–0 in an exhibition game. Six days later, the squad drew against Hofstra (2–0–1, 0–0 CAA) in its season opener before beating Quinnipiac (2–1–0, 0–0–0 MAAC) 4–1 on Sunday. The Bulldogs scored seven times across the three matches.
“Winning games at this level is always hard, and we are happy as a staff to come away from our opening weekend with two results,” head coach Sarah Martinez said to Yale Athletics.
Although Yale’s season opener against Hofstra at home was delayed for 30 minutes due to inclement weather, the show eventually went on with the two teams playing to a scoreless tie. Goalkeeper Maya Bellomo ’24 kept the Bulldogs in the game with four saves, including one in the second half when she blocked a shot from Hofstra forward Leah Iglesias, who lashed out at goal from the right.
The second half also brought Yale’s best chance at scoring with a chance from Tina Teik ’25, who shot from 20 yards off the goal, hitting the far post. This was the only time that Hofstra’s goalkeeper, Skylar Kuzmich, was tested during the game.
The game finished with a 14–3 edge in shots for Hofstra, who had advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
“While we always want to get a win, we are happy with walking away from this game with a point,” Martinez told Yale Athletics. “The defensive efforts we saw from our group is something we are proud of and certainly an area of growth from last fall.”
That same weekend, Yale triumphed over Quinnipiac with a 4–1 win at home. Although the Bobcats had 16 shots to the Bulldogs’ nine, and a 6–4 advantage in shots on goal, the Blue and White still managed to win the game.
The star of the game was sophomore Ellie Rappole ’25, who in the first half of the game scored two goals just 11 minutes apart and notched one assist. The first goal was at 36:30, where Rappole was assisted by Belle Golden ’26 and Meredith Phillips ’25. Rappole’s second goal came when Rebeka Róth ’25 sent the Massachusetts native a long feed. Rappole then proceeded to take a few dribbles and beat Quinnipiac’s goalkeeper, Sofia Lospinoso.
“Quinnipiac was a very exciting game,” Rappole said. “Last year we lost to them 4–0, so to get revenge on them this year was awesome.”
The first goal came at 22:33 when Rappole assisted rookie defender Golden to her first goal with the Bulldogs.
In the 84th minute, forward Zia Makhathini ’24 was the last to score for the Bulldogs, with an assist from Ashley Kirschner ’26.
“I do want to give a special shoutout to Zia for scoring her first career goal,” Martinez said to Yale Athletics. “She is a quiet, loyal worker who deserves every bit of that goal.”
Quinnipiac’s only goal of the game came at the last minute, when Rebecca Cooke scored with only 26 seconds left on the clock.
The Bobcats arrived at Reese Stadium with two wins already in the season and as preseason favorite of the MAAC, having reached the final game of this tournament a year ago. Meanwhile, Yale was picked last in the Ivy Preseason Poll. With these early wins, the Bulldogs are likely to exceed expectations and pick up some conference wins later this season.
Last season, Yale’s overall record was 3–14, with the squad only picking up one win from Ivy play. It took the Bulldogs until Sept. 19 to take a win, while this year, the squad is currently running undefeated.
During the three games, Giana Pittaro ’23 led the Bulldogs as the team’s new captain. The defender has 27 collegiate games under her belt, and was also the player with the most games her rookie year.
“I’m extremely honored that my teammates have entrusted me to lead the program into our upcoming season,” Pittaro told Yale Athletics. “I’m especially grateful to be working alongside a group of incredibly strong and talented women, to have the support and leadership of the upperclassmen on the team, and to have had such a great example set for me by the captains of the past three seasons: Brittany Simpson, Alyssa Fagel, and Kristen Enriquez.”
The next game for the Bulldogs will be an away game against Boston University on Sept. 1 at 7:00 p.m.