WOMEN’S SOCCER: Bulldogs break losing streak to prevail in Ivy opener – Yale Daily News

The Yale women’s soccer team played an aggressive first half to win over rival Princeton and ended its four-game losing streak.
10:53 pm, Sep 27, 2022
Contributing Reporter

Yale Athletics
In their Ivy League home opener Saturday night, the Yale women’s soccer team (4–4–1, 1–0–0 Ivy) edged past Princeton (5–4–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) with a score of 1–0. 
Desperate to end their four-game losing streak, the Bulldogs came out playing aggressively in the first half, with Ellie Rappole ’25 striking in the sixth minute to make it 1–0. Neither team managed a goal for the remainder of the game, allowing the Bulldogs to come away with a big win.
We’ve surpassed our total wins from last season in our first conference game against a great opponent, which is certainly a hopeful start to Ivy League play,” defender Marz Akins ’25 told the News. 
On Rappole’s goal, her first attempt was blocked, but she then recovered the ball in the box, took two dribbles to get around her defender and fired a shot that clanged in off the crossbar before Princeton’s goalkeeper could react. 
Going down a goal seemed to motivate Princeton, as the momentum slowly began to shift in their favor. The Tigers began dominating possession, keeping the pressure on Yale’s defense for the remainder of the half. 
The Elis struggled mightily to contain Princeton forward Drew Coomans, whose blistering pace on the right flank gave Yale fits on defense. Coomans was a constant presence, driving forward with the ball relentlessly and earning Princeton several corner kicks. 
In one threatening sequence of play, the Tigers earned five corner kicks in the span of two minutes, but somehow failed to score as Yale defenders warded off a flurry of dangerous crosses into the box. Goalkeeper Maya Bellomo ’24 did her part with some fine saves, which would be a constant theme throughout the game.
Akins, who played all 90 minutes, was proud of the team’s defense. 
“I think our team managed to keep a clean slate by sticking to our basic defensive principles and fighting for the win we desperately worked for,” Akins told the News. “It certainly wasn’t just an individual effort — everyone on our team gave maximum effort whether they were bleeding on the field or cheering on the bench.”
The excitement from the end of the first half did not carry over to the second, however, as both teams fought in a physical midfield battle. 
Though the second half had much less action on the field, the excitement and energy coming from the stands brought life into the game. 
Notably, the men’s soccer team showed up to the game carrying an empty metal trash can that was used as a makeshift drum throughout the second half. Rhythmic pounding accompanying chants of “Let’s go Bulldogs,” and “Oh when the Bulldogs go marching in” invigorated the Blue and White as they looked to hold on to their lead. 
“It felt like there was a roaring sea of blue whenever Yale touched the ball,” Jack Cloherty ’26, who attended the game, said. “There were a lot more people than I expected, and you could definitely feel the energy in the bleachers. I’ll definitely be going back to Reese Field for another game.” 
In the 82nd minute, with a victory seemingly tucked away and the crowd chanting “start the buses,” Coomans turbo-boosted through the Yale defense, finding herself in open space with just the keeper to beat. Almost certain to score, Coomans was denied by a charging Bellomo, who dove to the right, emphatically blocking the shot. 
When the final whistle was blown, the Yale players rushed the field in celebration of their victory. Head coach Sarah Martinez applauded her team after the game.
“The defensive effort of our team the entire game was incredible,” Martinez said. “To score that early and hold onto the lead for 85 minutes showed how resilient and gritty we can be.”
Yale was outshot by Princeton 19–9, with the Tigers having six shots on goal to Yale’s two. Bellomo registered six saves in total. With this win, the Bulldogs are now tied for first in the Ivy League standings. Brown and Columbia each won their first conference matches as well.
Yale’s impressive effort at home fits into an interesting yet alarming trend this season, as their home record is now 4–0–1, while their away record is 0–4–0. Going back to last season, the Bulldogs have lost each of their last 12 games on the road, as they went 0–8 in away games as part of a dismal 3–14 finish in 2021. 
Despite the work cut out for them on the road, the team is proud of their performance thus far.
“Just for some perspective, we had given up 28 goals at this point last season so we are proud of this growth from our group,” Martinez added.
Yale’s search for their first road win since 2019 continues in Cambridge on Saturday at 5:00 p.m., where they will face rival Harvard. 
 
Ben Raab | ben.raab@yale.edu | @BenHRaab 

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