NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale’s home opener couldn’t have gone much better. The Bulldogs turned in a dominating performance, dismantling Fairfield 5-1 on a beautiful late summer evening at Reese Stadium.
First-year Ellery Winkler scored two goals and added an assist to lead the onslaught. Aerial Chavarin, Noelle Higginson and Reina Bonta also scored.
“Today was a very good day for our team, program and for Yale,” said Brendan Faherty, who earned his first victory as Yale’s Loring Family Head Coach. “The first home game of the season is always special, and it’s nice to cap it off with a good performance and a win.”
Yale (1-1) outshot the Stags 20-6 and had an 8-1 edge in corner kicks.
The game featured three penalty kicks, but only one was converted.
Fairfield goalkeeper Gena Pike stopped the first just two minutes in.
The Bulldogs, though, were awarded another one midway through the first half, and this time Chavarin calmly stepped up and knocked it home at 23:40.
A little over five minutes later, Yale struck again. Winkler sent a long ball forward to Lydia Shaw, who sent a cross into the box that Higginson headed home at 28:59.
Fairfield (2-2) pulled to within 2-1 on Liz Dumas’s goal at 38:23, but Yale had a quick answer.
Winkler took a nice cross from Chloe Laureano and found the back of the net from eight yards out with 53 seconds left before halftime.
The Stags had a chance to get back within one early in the second half, but Yale goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel made a diving save on a penalty kick.
Goals from Bonta, assisted by Alexandra McCraven, and Winkler, assisted by Emily Yin, sealed the victory later in the second half.
Yale was outstanding playing with the lead, limiting Fairfield to very few scoring chances.
“There were a lot of positives from individual players but also as a group collectively,” Faherty said. “At the same time, Fairfield caused us some problems, and we will need to learn from those situations in hopes we can perform even better moving forward.”
The Bulldogs received great support from the fans who came out for the first home game.
“It was great to have such a large crowd supporting our team,” Faherty said. “At times, we definitely needed them, and it helped to push on our student-athletes.”
Yale, which opened the season with a heartbreaking double-overtime loss at St. John’s on Friday, is back on the road next Friday, playing at Loyola, Md.