NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Rudy Meredith is confident his team will eventually score the first goal in a game. In the meantime, he’ll settle for the way things unfolded Thursday night against Hartford.
Sarah McCauley headed in a Kristi Wharton corner kick with four minutes left in the second half as Yale rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Hawks 2-1 on a gorgeous late summer evening at Reese Stadium.
It was the fifth straight game the Bulldogs yielded the first goal, but the first time they came back to win.
It probably helped Meredith’s blood pressure that Yale didn’t trail for very long.
Hartford’s Skylar Vitiello’s blast from nearly 40 yards out put the Hawks in front at 31:52.
It took the Bulldogs just over a minute to get the equalizer. Aerial Chavarin outraced the Hartford defense to McCauley’s long forward ball, and scored on a breakaway at 32:55.
It was Chavarin’s team-leading fifth goal of the season.
“We didn’t have to chase the game for very long,” Meredith said. “We were able to stay in rhythm, and I could stay patient. When we fall behind, I tend to want to make changes.”
Yale improved to 4-2-2 with the victory and snapped a four-game winless streak that included the two ties.
McCauley’s game-winner came on the Bulldogs’ third corner kick of the game.
“Sarah is very good [on headers]. We have four or five players that are dangerous, but we’ve just been a bit off,” Meredith said.
Despite the win, Meredith couldn’t help but be a little frustrated that it required a comeback.
“We need to convert on our first chance,” he said. “Other teams have been doing it to us.”
Yale controlled play in the early minutes and finished the first half with a 7-2 edge in shots.
The Hawks (5-3) picked up their play at times in the second half, but freshman goalkeeper Jane Buckley was strong. She made four saves over the final 45 minutes to keep Hartford off the board and earn her first career victory.
The Bulldogs have their final non-conference game of the season on Sunday, hosting Creighton at noon. Ivy League play kicks off on Sept. 24 against Princeton, also at home.