Nov. 4, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - There was good news and bad news for the Yale women's soccer team on Sunday. The Bulldogs kept their hopes alive for an Ivy League title with a 3-1 victory over Brown, but Penn has now clinched the league's automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup.
Yale can still earn a share of the Ivy title with a victory over Princeton next Sunday coupled with a Penn loss to Harvard. The Quakers, though, would get the automatic bid by virtue of their 2-1 win over the Bulldogs on Oct. 20. Yale (10-6, 4-2 Ivy) should still receive consideration for an at-large berth.
"Because of our strength of schedule, we should have a chance," said Yale head coach Rudy Meredith.
Maggie Westfal, Becky Brown and Hannah Smith all scored for the Bulldogs in Sunday's victory. Yale, which has won three in a row and eight of its last 10 games, has now reached the 10-win mark in four of the last six years.
Brown, which came into the game tied with Yale, took the lead midway through the first half on Bridget Ballard's running header of a Lindsay Cunningham cross.
The Bulldogs, though tied it less than three minutes later when Westfal one-timed a Leslie Perez cross from inside the box. Kate Macauley helped set up the goal when she sent a nifty long pass to Perez on the left wing.
"Our composure was good after Brown scored. We didn't panic," Meredith said. "We know that we can play from behind."
Yale took the lead early in the second half. Caitlin Collins sent a pass ahead to Brown, who took a long shot from a tough angle on the left wing that sailed over the head of Bears goalkeeper Steffi Yellin.
The Bulldogs added an insurance goal in the 77th minute off a direct kick. Natalia Mann sent a ball into the box. Sophia Merrifield deflected it to Smith, who knocked it in. It was her first career goal.
"The game was played very tight early on," Meredith said. "Once we were able to open it up, we started connecting on our passes and played better."
Yale goalkeeper Susan Starr made a couple of key saves late in the game to keep the Bears from getting back into it. She deflected a Ballard shot from just outside the box over the cross bar, and then made a diving save on a Ballard header off the ensuing corner kick.
Yale finished with a 13-10 edge in shots. Starr made five saves, and Yellin stopped four shots.
The Bulldogs play at Princeton on Sunday at 1 p.m., while Penn and Harvard meet Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity