Sept. 13, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Last weekend, the Yale women's soccer team took on 2006 NCAA College Cup champion North Carolina. Three late goals helped the Tar Heels defeat the Bulldogs 4-0 in a game that was more competitive than the final score indicates. This weekend, Yale gets an opportunity to knock off 2005 champion Portland in the Nike Portland Invitational. First, though, comes Friday's 7:30 p.m. EDT time matchup with Washington of the Pac-10. The Bulldogs then take on the Pilots on Sunday at 4 p.m. EDT. Live stats will be available for Friday's game and live stats and free audio are available on Sunday on portlandpilots.com.
This is the second consecutive long trip for Yale, which traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Nike Carolina Classic. The Bulldogs were competitive with ACC powers Duke and North Carolina, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Blue Devils before falling to UNC.
Freshman Ayana Sumiyasu, who has been splitting the goalkeeping duties with Susan Starr, was named Yale's Most Valuable Player at the tournament. She stopped three shots in the second half against Duke and then made 10 saves in the final 45 minutes against North Carolina. She also was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll.
Sunday's game marks the return to Merlo Field for Yale captain Mary Kuder. She played at Portland in 2004, appearing in four games, before transferring to Yale.
Washington has dropped its first four games of the season, but two of the losses have come against teams that ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 - No. 22 Purdue and No. 25 Marquette. Dani Bridges has scored twice for the Huskies, while Melissa Beal has the team's other goal. Taylor Carr has played all 360 minutes in goal and has a 2.50 goals against average.
The Pilots were ranked first in the nation before dropping a 1-0 decision to Purdue last weekend. Portland opened the season with wins over Florida State, Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton. Rachael Rapinoe and Natalie Budge have combined to score seven of Portland's eight goals on the season.
The Pilots are one of the most successful programs in the country. In 2005, they became only the second program in women's soccer history to capture a national championship with an undefeated season. Last year they averaged 3,407 fans per home match, which led the nation.
After this weekend, the Bulldogs will play six of their next seven games in the friendly confines of Reese Stadium.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity