Yale’s women’s soccer team always seems to find a way to win. The Bulldogs have beaten Cornell’s women in three of their past four meetings. This weekend, luck and mud helped them win again.
Before the game even started, both teams knew they would have their work cut out for them. Yale and Cornell came in to the contest as two of the most evenly matched teams in the Ivy League. Prior to Saturday’s contest, Yale posted a 6-5-1 record overall, while Cornell entered at 7-2-2.
“We tend to match up well against Yale,” said junior goalie Katie Thomas. “They’re usually in the same place in the league that we are, they play with speed, and the team knew it would be a tough, even match.”
Play on the field affirmed that expectation. Both teams battled fiercely throughout the first half, but Cornell found itself in control.
“We really dominated the first half,” said sophomore Shannon Fraser. “We had momentum going our way.”
Defensively, the Red did an excellent job keeping the ball out of its own territory, and the offense kept pressure on Yale’s goalie, Sarah Walker. Those efforts paid off at 36:04 when Fraser took a cross from junior Natalie Dew and headed it in for the game’s first score.
“It’s a great feeling to score, obviously,” said Fraser. “It’s great to feel I did something that made a difference, and it’s great for the team.”
The goal boosted the team’s spirits, and the Red continued to shut down the Bulldogs for the rest of the first half.
“We played really well, just a great game overall,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan, “Coming in, I thought that [Yale] would have a slight edge but they didn’t at all in the first half.”
After the break, though, momentum seemed to shift in favor of Yale’s offense.
“We just didn’t seem as consistent in the second half,” said Fraser. “We just seemed to lose it a little bit, and Yale started getting lots of shots, but I couldn’t say exactly what the turning point was.”
Unfortunately for Cornell, the turning point seemed to be an untimely slip by one of the team’s defenders, which led to a Bulldog goal.
Midway through the second half, Yale’s Lindsey Weening took a feed from teammate Lee Ann Jasper in Cornell territory. At the same time, one of Cornell’s defenders went to play the ball. But on the muddy Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium field she slipped, and Weening headed toward the net alone. Despite being in perfect position, Cornell freshmen goalkeeper Katrina Matlin did not have much chance to stop the ensuing shot, which tied the game at one goal apiece.
“We actually started the second half with one extra defender to help our defense out,” said Matlin. “We held them for a long time and then they just got lucky.”
For the rest of regulation, the two teams battled intensely for the winning goal. Neither could find the back of the net, however, and the game went into overtime.
“We were a little worn out then,” said Andeberhan, “we finished the last five or ten minutes of regulation on top but we were definitely tired at the end.”
Cornell’s women weren’t the only players to experience fatigue, though. On both teams, the wear and tear of one full game had taken its toll and neither team found the back of the net in the first overtime. The game continued.
After a scoreless first OT, Yale and Cornell squared off for yet another bout. Yale’s Laurel Karnes delivered the knockout blow. Only three minutes 44 seconds into the second overtime, the sophomore attacker took a 10-yard pass from Jasper and aimed at Cornell’s net. One of the Red’s defenders traversed the field in an attempt to deflect the shot but just missed the ball and instead inadvertently tipped it passed Matlin in goal.
“We really had some fluke goals,” said Andeberhan. “I give Yale full credit for playing a great game, but we played well, and they got lucky.”
For Karnes, the shot was her fourth gamewinner for the Bulldogs this season. For Cornell, it simply meant a loss, as the Red dropped its record to 7-3-2 (1-2-1 Ivy).
Yet the team remains optimistic about its chances of still finishing the season well.
Said Thomas, “We’re just playing great soccer right now.”
Archived article by Everett Hullverson