NEW HAVEN, Conn. – By halftime of Tuesday’s game with Sacred Heart, Yale head coach Rudy Meredith had seen enough of a disturbing early-season trend. Meredith wasn’t pleased with the way his team was starting games. And how did he let them know at halftime?
“I gave them the silent treatment,” he said.
Meredith let his assistant coaches speak for the first 10 minutes of the intermission while he sat at the end of the Yale bench. The unspoken message sure seemed to have its intended effect. The Bulldogs dominated the last 45 minutes en route to a 3-0 victory over the Pioneers on a muggy night at Reese Stadium.
Despite the sluggish start, Yale actually had a 1-0 lead at the break, but it was the result of an own goal. Sacred Heart (2-3) outshot the Bulldogs 6-2 in the first half and had the better of the play.
The second half was a completely different story. Yale fired 12 shots and scored two goals, while the Pioneers had very few scoring chances.
“I thought we worked harder, connected on more passes, especially in the final third, and our energy level was much better,” Meredith said. “I was very pleased with our play.”
Melissa Gavin gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead when she curved a corner kick off the far post and into the net at 56:21.
“She was trying to hit a dangerous ball and force the defense to make a decision,” Meredith said of the unusual goal. “Anything can happen.”
Yale (2-1) scored a more conventional goal off a corner kick at 77:42 when Muriel Battaglia headed in a perfect Frannie Coxe cross.
Three Yale goalkeepers combined on the shutout. Adele Jackson-Gibson played the first 19:20 before leaving with an injury. Elise Wilcox came on and made three saves in 35:45, and freshman Rachel Ames played the final 34:55.
Ames made the most difficult save of the game midway through the second half and it came on the first shot she faced. Sacred Heart’s Jacquelyn Roth fired a hard shot, but Ames moved to her left and smothered it to keep the Pioneers off the board.
“I had planned to play all three keepers,” Meredith said. “I want to make sure both Elise and Rachel get some experience before the start of Ivy League play.
Meredith said he would know more about the extent of Gibson-Jackson’s injury on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Friday when they play at Loyola, Ill., at 8 p.m. EDT. The two-game trip to Chicago concludes on Sunday against Northwestern.