Sept. 16, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - For over 20 minutes Sunday afternoon, Yale hung with the No. 6 team in the country and held a 1-0 lead. But once Michigan State got its powerful offense going, the Spartans reeled off the final six goals of the game to post a 6-1 win.
"The way we attacked at the start of the game was impressive," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "That's the best start we've had. During the first 15 minutes we had some brilliant plays on offense and played solid defense."
Sophomore forward Ashley McCauley, fresh off her four-goal performance in Friday's win at Hofstra, showcased her stick-handling skills to set up the game's first goal. She maneuvered her way through the Spartan defense before sending a cross to senior forward Cat Lindroth, who re-directed it past Michigan State keeper Elissa Unger at the 10:34 mark.
"It was great to be able to take a team like that and put them under 1-0," Stuper said. "It was an exciting moment."
Yale (1-4) continued battling, with midfielder Ali Rotondo sparking much of the attack. But Michigan State (7-1), which entered the weekend leading the country in goals per game (5.95), was not to be denied. The Spartans had just suffered their first loss of the season Friday in overtime at UConn and were not about to start a losing streak.
Becky Manning tied the game at the 22:11 mark, staying with the play after her initial shot was blocked. Four minutes later Kathryn Elenz-Martin fed Jantine Steinmetz right in front of the goal to make it 2-1.
Yale sophomore goalkeeper Charlotte Goins would finish with 15 saves, and her work helped keep the game close.
"Having Charlotte in goal helped us continue to be able to fight," Stuper said.
The Spartans missed a penalty stroke wide left later in the half, but Elenz-Martin then delivered a pair of goals that gave Michigan State some separation. On the first one she deflected in a long pass from outside the circle by Geraldine Raynor, and on the second one she tapped in a feed from Angela Pagura with less than a minute left in the half.
"Charlotte made some great saves, but there were some brilliant goals by Michigan State," Stuper said.
The Spartans missed another penalty stroke as time expired in the first half, hitting the post.
The Bulldog defense then buckled down and held Michigan State off the scoreboard for over 20 minutes. Sophomore midfielder Katie Cantore deflected away one shot off a penalty corner. The work of Cantore's classmate, back Julia Weiser, was also a key factor in holding back the Spartans.
"With Julia, we know that whatever role she's in we can count on her," Stuper said.
But the Spartan defense was all but impenetrable, not allowing a single Yale shot in the second half. Michelle Ciliberti's goal at 56:49 made the score 5-1, and Jeamie Deacon tacked on a goal in the final minute to get the Spartans to their normal scoring average.
Yale returns to Johnson Field Friday night, hosting Ivy League foe Cornell at 7:00 p.m.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity