NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Rudy Meredith’s thoughts turned to 2005 shortly after Yale’s 2-0 loss to defending Big East champion St. John’s on Friday.
That year, the Bulldogs opened the season with back-to-back 1-0 losses to North Carolina and Duke. Despite the setbacks, the results showed his team could compete with the very best. Yale went on to win the Ivy League title and win a pair of NCAA Tournament games, including a rematch with Duke in the second round.
It’s still very early in the 2016 season, but Meredith hopes for a similar scenario this fall. At times his young team was right with a very talented St. John’s squad so perhaps it can serve as a spring board to future success.
“There were moments when we were as good as them, but overall they were the better team,” said Yale’s long-time head coach. “We needed a game like this, and hopefully we will learn from it.”
The loss snapped Yale’s season-opening three-game winning streak.
The goal post played a role in the outcome as well. Samie Scaffidi scored first for the Red Storm when her blast from 20 yards out deflected off the post and in at 6:56.
Later in the first half, Yale’s Michelle Alozie rocketed a shot past St. John’s goalkeeper Diana Poulin, but it banged off the post and came back into play.
Still, Alozie’s near-miss seemed to inspire the Bulldogs, and they had the better of the play in the later stages of the first half.
St. John’s, though, answered with a strong start to the second half, and increased the lead to 2-0 at 65:48 when Claudia Cagnina knocked home a rebound of her shot that was saved by Jane Buckley.
The Red Storm (3-0-2) don’t yield many goals so a two-goal advantage was quite comfortable for Poulin, the two-time Big East Goalkeeper of the Year who posted her fourth shutout of the young season.
St. John’s, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, finished with a 13-7 edge in shots.
“There are a lot of positives from tonight that we can incorporate into our next game,” Meredith said. “Now, let’s see how we respond.”
The Bulldogs won’t have to wait long. They host Iona on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Reese.