After five consecutive matchups without a win, Cornell women’s soccer finally snagged its first Ivy League victory against Yale on Saturday in 90 minutes of hard fought gameplay on both sides.
“I can’t really pick out one player on the field and that I’d be like ‘That player didn’t really put their all on the field in this game, they didn’t do what was required of them,’” said senior captain Ellie Crowell. “I think in all different positions along the field, whether it was forward, midfield, defense, I think people did their job … I was really proud of everyone on the team.”
The Red’s last two Ivy League games were not successful — a crushing loss against Penn and a draw against Harvard — but its game against Yale on Saturday definitely boosted the women’s confidence and the team’s chances of pulling ahead in the conference.
“We had a very good performance against Harvard … so it was seeing if we could come back again with that energy and collective intention to play defense together, play offense together,” Crowell said. “The fight there at the end was amazing. Both of our goals were scored by two underclassmen, a sophomore and a freshman, so that’s just really cool.”
The Bulldogs (5-5-3) came out strong at Berman Field with a total of 24 attempted shots compared to Cornell’s six. The first half ended with the Red leading by one goal, but a penalty kick tied up the game for Yale in the second half.
“No one would like to be scored on, but I actually like the idea that we were ahead, they caught up, and then we fought enough to come back,” said head coach Patrick Farmer. “I think it builds something more than just winning, to be honest, if they can see that it’s not just one and done, that somebody can score on you and you can still come back and win.”
The last 20 minutes of the game were arguably the most intense. The Bulldogs proved to be a very physical team, knocking over players such as senior defender Kailey Joyce, junior forward Paige DeLoach and freshman midfielder Juliana Comer.
“I’m the smallest person on the team, so I’m kind of used to getting knocked down,” Comer said. “They’re a big team … they wanted to beat us, obviously, so they were definitely going to bring the pressure.”
Despite the physicality of its opponent, Cornell was able to seal its 2-1 victory with a goal late in the second half from Comer.
“It was really awesome — you get really tired during the game and it helps to re-energize you,” she said. “I was just like ‘Now let’s keep it up, keep the pressure on them, and not give up a stupid goal right after that.’”
Similar to the many of its previous games, Cornell had a difficult time making shots getting shots on goal against the Bulldogs. In addition, the Red committed twice the amount of fouls as the Bulldogs — 12 as opposed to Yale’s six.
“They’re pretty powerful and we just made silly, silly fouls, and the strongest part of their game because of that was their free kicks,” Farmer said. “I thought we helped them be pretty forceful against us.”
The women tweaked the strategy in the second half to account for the missteps made earlier in the game. The key for this was their increase in communication on the field.
“For some reason we’re a very talkative team off the field, and then all of a sudden we’re on the field and everyone’s just quiet, running around and not saying anything,” Crowell said. “That’s just so huge … making sure we know where our teammates and making sure we help organize one another … and I think it was better in the second half.”
Next week, the Red faces Brown. With this first Ivy win under their belts, the women are ready to prove themselves yet again at the Bears’ home field in Providence.
“I think we have a whole week to get our legs back and prepare and work on some of the stuff that broke down in this game, but I think this is a huge step up and a huge building block for us, for these last three games in our season,” Crowell said.