Tag Archive: win

  1. WOMEN’S SOCCER: Yale stuns Columbia in OT, wins on Senior Night

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    In the most dramatic game of its 2016 campaign, the Yale women’s soccer team slew Ivy League front runner Columbia in an overtime stunner Saturday night.

    The Lions (7–5–4, 4–1–1 Ivy), who led the Ancient Eight entering their matchup with the Elis, had outscored their conference opponents by a 6–0 margin this year and had not allowed a goal in more than 700 minutes. They represented a formidable challenge for Yale (6–6–3, 2–3–1), which had been eliminated from title competition a week prior after falling 1–0 to Penn.

    When Columbia found the net midway through the second half, the Bulldogs looked destined for more disappointment — until a 90th minute goal from forward Michelle Alozie ’19 rekindled hope. Then, just three minutes into overtime, midfielder Geneva Decker ’17 made it a senior day to remember, launching a strike into the net and securing a 2–1 upset.

    “We weren’t fighting for an Ivy League title, but despite our record, this team has been one of the best in terms of chemistry,” Decker said. “This is definitely a storybook ending.”

    The first half started poorly for the Elis, who could not manage even a shot until the 28th minute — of their three attempts of the period, none worked Columbia keeper Allison Spencer. Columbia, with its intimidating defensive line yet middling attack, shut down the Yale offense while only taking four shots of its own. After 45 minutes of fruitless effort from both squads, the teams retired to the locker rooms knotted at 0–0.

    The Bulldogs, who had conceded the opening goal in nine of their previous 11 matches, again found the early lead elusive. Once more, Yale’s opponent drew first blood when Lions forward Amaris Hemmings scored her second goal of the season in the 68th minute. Eli goalie Alyssa Fagel ’20 came too far off her line during a Columbia breakaway, and Hemmings blew past her and knocked the ball into the empty net for a 1–0 lead. As the clock ticked towards 90:00 — as the end of the season drew nearer and as the five seniors experienced their last moments on the Reese Stadium pitch — another disappointing result seemed imminent.

    Yet at the very last second, salvation came from the foot of Alozie. With 12 seconds left in regulation, Alozie corralled the ball in a chaotic penalty box and somehow found the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Disappointment replaced with determination, the Bulldogs then prepared for sudden death overtime.

    “Our never-give-up attitude is indicative to all the work we’ve done off the field this season,” captain and defender Colleen McCormack ’17 said. “We all played for each other tonight, which is when we have the most fun. I’m unbelievably proud of this team.”

    Despite being the clear underdogs and having just stood at the brink of defeat, the momentum was squarely on the side of the Elis during the extra period. This time, after a season spent giving up early goals, Yale was the first to capitalize.

    Forward Aerial Chavarin ’20 charged forward with the ball, taking on two defenders who attempted to stop Yale’s leading scorer. Decker, unguarded, took a deft through-ball from Chavarin and was one-on-one with Spencer.

    “The ball went to Aerial Chavarin’s feet, and I could see that she was holding up the defender.” Decker said. “I knew that she’d find me. She gave it to me on a silver platter, and I [only] had to take a touch.”

    In the final home game of her career, the senior midfielder seized the reins and steered her team to victory. Decker’s shot evaded Spencer, winning the game in the most unbelievable of fashions. As players rushed from the sidelines and fans stormed onto the field, the Yale squad enjoyed one of its most magical nights in recent memory.

    Looking forward, this victory will not help the Bulldogs win their first Ivy League title since 2005.

    However, head coach Rudy Meredith has his eyes set on a win in next weekend’s season finale against Brown. To win and end fourth in the final conference standings, Meredith said, would be a satisfying improvement over 2015’s last-place finish.

    For the Lions, Saturday’s loss complicates what had looked like an easy route to the Ivy League title. Now Columbia is ranked second behind Harvard and must beat the Crimson next weekend to take the crown.

    But above all, the win was a moment of vindication for the 2016 Bulldogs. At times this season, the team showed it was capable of playing with the cream of the crop, but ill-timed mistakes — especially on set pieces — became their downfall. On Saturday, the Elis finally put it all together, giving their seniors a worthy endnote to their careers.

    “I might have pulled my hamstring running out to congratulate Geneva,” Meredith said. “[The seniors] won’t have any more chances in their lives to experience that feeling on the field again, so I really wanted it for them. It was just an unbelievable moment for Yale soccer.”

    Yale’s final game of the season is next Saturday against Brown. The ball kicks off in Providence at 3:30 p.m.

  2. FOOTBALL: Defense sparks Yale win over Columbia

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    New York City — Friday night redemption could not have been much sweeter for the Yale football team. After getting demolished 42–7 by Penn at home last Friday, the Bulldogs notched their second win of the season against Columbia in the Big Apple.

    The Yale (2–5, 2–2 Ivy) defense, ranked last in the Ivy League entering this game, had its best performance of the season versus the Lions (2–5, 1–3). Yale forced five turnovers en route to a 31–23 victory, despite the offense totaling just 250 yards.

    “I’m very proud of this football team,” head coach Tony Reno said. “It’s not easy to win a game in this league with its parity. [Our players] play their best football when their backs are against the wall.”

    Both offenses struggled in a first quarter that amounted to a field position battle. Columbia picked up 56 total yards in the opening frame while Yale finished with negative yardage and gave up three sacks. Quarterback Kurt Rawlings ’20 replaced Tre Moore ’19 at the beginning of the second quarter and though he only passed for 150 yards, he also threw three touchdowns — the best mark for a Yale quarterback in any game this season.

    The Eli defense picked up the slack from the offense, forcing two turnovers in the first period. On the first play of Columbia’s second drive, cornerback Jason Alessi ’18 intercepted quarterback Anders Hill after stepping in front of a deep post route. Linebacker Victor Egu ’17 then forced a fumble that was picked up by safety Foye Oluokun ’17 on Columbia’s next possession. However, neither of these turnovers led to offensive success.

    Yale finally found the endzone at the start of the second quarter, when defensive lineman John Herubin ’18 picked up a Columbia fumble forced by linebacker Darius Manora ’17 and rumbled 61 yards for the first points of the game.

    “Our secondary played really well and the linebackers were hitting the gaps and forcing fumbles,” Herubin said. “We were getting some pressure on the D-Line. It was an all-around effort.”

    While the Yale drive would end in a punt, the Lions returner muffed the ball and the Bulldogs recovered inside the redzone. The Elis capitalized, with Rawlings tossing a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Myles Gaines ’17 in the back of the endzone.

    The Bulldog defense continued its strong play, setting up the offense with good field position. The Elis drove down the field once again and finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver  Robert Clemons III ’17 on a fade to the back corner of the endzone.

    After an impressive 38-yard run by Rawlings got them into the redzone, Yale finished off the half with a field goal from 30 yards, to bring the score to 24–0.

    Neither team put points on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Columbia marched into Yale territory twice, but the Eli defense held fast with two fourth-down stops, one of which was an interception by cornerback Marquise Peggs ’19.

    Yale scored a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 31 points. A 40-yard pass to running back Alan Lamar ’20 set up an 11-yard touchdown reception by tight end Leo Haenni ’17, Rawlings’ third touchdown pass of the day.

    Columbia finally got on the scoreboard when Hill found wide receiver Cameron Dunn for an 11-yard touchdown with 9:21 to play in the fourth quarter. Less than three minutes later, Hill connected with wide receiver Ronald Smith II for a 28-yard score as the Eli defense began to fatigue.

    Yale could not gain any momentum offensively for the rest of the game, and Columbia would add another touchdown with under a minute to play, again by Smith. However, the Elis would close out the game by recovering a last-ditch onside kick, holding on for a 31–23 win.