HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The Yale women’s soccer team was two minutes away from a very impressive road victory at Hofstra when it appeared disaster struck. The Bulldogs were whistled for a questionable hand ball in the box.
Goalkeeper Elise Wilcox, though, rose to the challenge. Wilcox snared Sam Scolarici’s penalty kick, preserving Yale’s 2-1 victory over a Pride team that just a week ago had knocked off national power Duke and was undefeated at home.
“This is one of the biggest wins we’ve had in a while,” said Yale head coach Rudy Meredith. “Hofstra is a very, very good team. They are going to win a lot of games.”
Wilcox finished with a season-high 12 saves and had plenty of support. Meredith was very pleased with his team’s overall effort.
“We fought like we were trying to get to the front of the line for an I-phone 6,” he said.
All the scoring came in the first half. Geneva Decker got the Bulldogs on the board first at 5:10 when she intercepted a back pass, broke in alone and slipped a shot past Hofstra goalkeeper Friederike Mehring.
The Pride (4-4) answered at 28:12 when Scolarici scored her ninth goal of the season on a blast from the top of the box.
The game-winner came from Paula Hagopian with a little less than nine minutes left in the first half. Sarah McCauley set it up by keeping a ball alive and sending a perfect cross to Hagopian, who tapped it into the left corner.
The Bulldogs then held off the high-powered Hofstra offense the rest of the way. Most notably, Yale kept 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year Leah Galton off the scoreboard.
“I think she’s one of the best players in the country,” said Meredith, who praised freshman Hannah Coy for the job she did marking Galton.
Hofstra finished with a 23-10 edge in shots.
At 5-1, the Bulldogs are off to their best start since 2004. That team went on to finish 13-5 overall and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Yale returns to Reese Stadium on Sunday to host New Hampshire. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.