It was the formula Yale head coach Rudy Meredith has been looking for. Score an early goal and play with the lead. The Bulldogs did it well for more than 60 minutes Saturday at Harvard, but the Crimson tallied a pair of late goals to escape with a 2-1 victory over Yale at Jordan Field.
Freshman Aerial Chavarin got the Bulldogs off to a strong start when she headed a through ball from Meg Byfield over the goalkeepers’ head and into the net at 7:14.
It was Chavarin’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Harvard (7-3, 2-0 Ivy) applied quite a bit of pressure over the next 60 minutes, but the Bulldogs’ defense held strong.
It was a pair of set pieces that did in Yale. The first came off a free kick. Leah Mohammadi sent a ball in, that eventually found its way to Margaret Purce, who banged it in for her ninth goal of the season at 73:56.
A little more than six minutes later, the Crimson struck again. This time, it was off a corner kick. Mohammadi sent a ball into the box that Caroline Chagares headed home at 80:02.
“We had two mental lapses, and you can’t do that against a team like Harvard,” Meredith said. “We played well. I loved our effort. I’m disappointed for our kids.”
Chavarin had a chance to tie it with just under three minutes left, but Lizzie Durack made the save on her shot.
Alyssa Fagel stopped five shots in goal for Yale.
The Bulldogs, who opened Ivy play with a tie against defending champion Princeton last Saturday, are still very much in the Ivy title race.
“The parody in the league is very apparent so anything can happen,” Meredith said. “The league is wide open. We hate to lose, but I know we are in a better place than we were last year after playing Princeton and Harvard.”
Yale returns to action next Saturday at Dartmouth. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.