FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A disturbing trend has emerged as the Yale women’s soccer team prepares for next Saturday’s Ivy League opener against Princeton. In each of the last two games, the Bulldogs have allowed a goal in the final minute of the first half. It was particularly damaging on Sunday against Fairfield as it turned out to be the only goal of the game as the Stags edged the Bulldogs 1-0.
Yale (4-3) also yielded what was the decisive goal in the final minute of the first half in Friday’s 2-1 loss to Sacred Heart.
“We need to focus on playing the whole 45 minutes,” said Yale head coach Rudy Meredith. “It can’t just be 44 minutes.”
Also like Friday, the Bulldogs got off to a slow start against Fairfield. The Stags had a 13-2 edge in shots in the first half.
It was the final one, though, that turned out to be the biggest. Brenna Brown fired a shot that beat Yale goalkeeper Rachel Ames inside the near post with just 42 seconds left before the intermission.
Ames played very well for the Bulldogs. She made two big saves in the 31st minute to keep Fairfield off the board. Both came against Ashley Small, who had stolen the ball from a Yale defender. Ames used a two-hand punch to knock away the first shot. The rebound came right back to Small, but Ames tipped away the second attempt.
Yale picked up its play in the second half, particularly in the final minutes, and had a couple of opportunities to tie. The best came with a minute left when Frannie Coxe fired a shot that deflected off the crossbar. Coxe also hit the crossbar in Friday’s game with Sacred Heart.
“We’ll be fine if we play like we did in the last 15 minutes,” Meredith said.
The Bulldogs had an 8-5 edge in shots in the second half.
Yale now has five days to prepare for Saturday’s game at Princeton, which kicks off at 4 p.m.
“We need [the break] physically,” Meredith said. “We’re a little beat up. It should help us to be able to focus on Princeton for the whole week.”