ITHACA, N.Y. – Yale’s team dinner Friday night ended a little different than normal. Head coach Rudy Meredith went around the tables and had each player make a sacrifice to the goals gods. After seeing his team held scoreless for five straight games, Meredith figured he had to try something.
The prayers were answered just five minutes into Saturday’s game at Cornell when Melissa Gavin broke the goal drought, scoring what turned out to be the only goal of the game in a key 1-0 Ivy League victory over the Big Red.
“It was a major relief,” said Meredith, who won’t be enjoying any pumpkin muffins this week, his sacrifice to the cause.
Despite the early goal, there were still quite a few anxious moments for the Bulldogs, who were outshot 18-8 by Cornell.
Goalkeeper Elise Wilcox, though, had an answer for every Big Red scoring threat. She finished with eight saves to post her third shutout of the season. Her best stop came with a little over 20 minutes left in the second half. Meera Marhoefer served a perfect ball into the box. Elizabeth Crowell got off a quick shot, but Wilcox went down quickly and steered the ball around the near post with her left hand.
“Elise played out of her mind,” Meredith said. “She made a couple of really big saves.”
Yale’s goal was pretty. Frannie Coxe served a deep cross from the right side that Gavin was able to get a foot to for a tap-in.
Gavin, who now has 22 career goals, was a logical candidate to snap Yale’s scoreless streak.
“We know she knows how to score goals,” said Meredith, who said he had offensive-minded practices all week.
The win keeps the Bulldogs in the hunt for the Ivy title. Yale (6-4-2, 1-1-2 Ivy) has five points with three league games remaining.
The Bulldogs will have two of those games in the friendly confines of Reese Stadium. The first is next Saturday against Penn at 4 p.m.