NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Rudy Meredith has his Yale women’s soccer team playing a more defensive style this fall. Still, he knows he will still need offense. That’s where Melissa Gavin comes in.
Gavin’s goal at 16:04 was all Yale needed to open the 2013 season with an impressive 1-0 victory over Stony Brook on an unusually chilly late summer night at Reese Stadium.
“I’m very pleased with our performance,” Meredith said between handing out smoothies to his team following the game. “To post a shutout against a team that had scored  goals is a good way to start.”
The Seawolves, who suffered their first loss of the season, were playing their fifth game of the season.
Gavin’s goal came when she worked a nifty give-and-go with Frannie Coxe. Gavin, the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, took the return feed from Coxe and fired a shot inside the near post. It was a play that the team had been practicing all week.
“It was a great finish and a great combination,” Meredith said.
Yale won it season opener for the fifth straight year.
The Bulldogs got a scare in the pregame warmup when captain Shannon McSweeney suffered an injury that forced her to be removed from the starting lineup. Freshman Katie Fletcher took her place and responded well.
“Katie really stepped up and played great,” Meredith said.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, McSweeney was okay and was able to enter the game midway through the first half.
The Bulldogs had the better of the play for much of the first half, but the Seawolves (3-1-1) were in control in the second half, outshooting Yale 12-3.
“We bent but didn’t break,” Meredith said.
Goalkeeper Rachel Ames was a big reason why. She made a pair of diving stops in the second half to keep Stony Brook off the board. She finished with four saves overall.
Ames is coming off a summer in which she was selected as the Women's Premier Soccer League's Southern Conference Goalkeeper of the Year while playing for Alabama FC.
“She’s come in very prepared because of how much she’s played,” Meredith said. “She’s game ready.”
The Bulldogs are back in action on Sunday when they play at UMass Lowell at 2 p.m.