After playing its best soccer of the year, the women’s soccer team looks to snap its four-game losing streak, as it welcomes Yale (7-4, 1-2 Ivy) to Berman Field tomorrow for a 12 p.m. contest. The Red (4-5-2, 1-2 Ivy) dropped a 3-1 contest to Syracuse on Wednesday night, but head coach Berhane Andeberhan believes it was the team’s best effort on the field this season.
“We absolutely played a near-flawless game in the first half,” Andeberhan said. “I thought up until now, our Bucknell game was our best game. This game, I think, exceeded that because we created a lot of dangerous scoring chances.”
Freshman Jackie Stromberg scored her first collegiate goal just 22 seconds into the game, beating Syracuse’s goalie as she came out to get a loose ball.
“Jackie was unlucky not to score another one or two. She got herself in great position, calmly finished her first chance, barely missed on a couple others,” Andeberhan said.
Syracuse knotted the equalizer in the 26th minute, and the Orange then grabbed the lead eight minutes into the second half on a goal by Helen Fox. Fox then added her second of the night with just three minutes to play in the game, and Syracuse upped its record against the Red to 7-0-1.
Since dropping a match against Colgate two weeks ago, the booters have been working on increasing their scoring chances, and that was evident against the Orange. Andeberhan has been emphasizing to his forwards to stay in scoring position in the area outside the opponent’s box.
“[Our forwards] are so responsible sometimes that they come back too much to midfield to spur the midfielders, but then they get themselves out of scoring position,” Andeberhan said.
While the Red has led early in its past two games, Andeberhan does not want the team to change its tactics to hold on to the one-goal lead.
“Unlike when I was their age, youth soccer is a seasonal thing. They don’t play all the time and they don’t see top-level games all the time, so some of that stuff we have to learn by experiencing it, and there are a lot of great experiences happening. Andeberhan said. “But I don’t want to put the added pressure on them of having to hold on, I want them to play correctly.”
The team has practiced dealing with physical play from its opponents all season, and several of the Red’s playmakers were on the other end of physical play from Syracuse. The Orange had 14 fouls on Wednesday compared to the Red’s six.
“The biggest obstacle we’re facing is the physical play, but it won’t be long until we can handle that,” Andeberhan said. “Handling the physical play without having the tactical depth of knowledge would be two ugly teams colliding. I don’t want to build that, I want to build something unique here, and I’m very satisfied with our direction.”
Yale enters tomorrow’s match on a two-game winning streak, having defeated Dartmouth 1-0 last Sunday for its first Ivy win of the season. The Bulldogs have faced some of the top teams in the country, losing to No. 15 Stanford, No. 17 Santa Clara, and No. 11 Princeton, but scoring the upset against 2003 national runner-up UCONN.
Senior goalie Sarah Walker earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for notching a shutout against Dartmouth. The win was Yale’s first over the Green since 1995. Walker has a 0.82 goals against average with four shutouts in 11 starts this season. On offense, Christina Huang and Mimi Macauley lead the team in scoring with seven points each, with Macauley assisting on five of the team’s goals this season.
“Yale is a bit similar to us, judging from their results, but very well coached. I like their coaches, they’re among the ones I respect the most in the league,” Andeberhan said. “They play a good game of soccer, and their physical play is not marginal.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach
Sun Staff Writer