NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale is making a habit of successful season openers.
The Bulldogs cruised to a 2-0 victory over Quinnipiac on a muggy Friday night at Reese Stadium, their sixth straight win in their first game of the season.
More important than that, though, to head coach Rudy Meredith was how his team started the game. Yale scored first, something that didn’t happen enough in Meredith’s mind last year when the Bulldogs were outscored 15-5 in the first half.
“Over the last few years, we win 90 percent of the time when we score first,” he said. “We’ve talked about it a lot. It was a problem last year, and we are trying to change it.”
The first goal came from an unlikely source. Freshman defender Carlin Hudson moved up on a corner kick. Muriel Battaglia got off the initial shot, Hudson pounced on the rebound and knocked it in at 19:43.
“Carlin strikes the ball well and is good in the air,” Meredith said of having her up front.
Yale’s second goal, which came early in the second half, also was off a corner kick. This time, sophomore Geneva Decker deflected in Frannie Coxe’s kick.
Coxe, who led the team with six assists last year, helped on both Yale goals.
“Frannie is very good on corner kicks,” Meredith said. “We want to be dangerous on them. Everybody has a spot they are responsible for [on the corner kicks] and if the ball comes to that spot you are responsible for playing it.”
Even though Quinnipiac (0-4) was already playing its fourth game of the season, it was the Bulldogs who were sharp from the start. Yale had an 8-4 edge in shots in the first half and had a solid advantage in possession time.
The Bobcats turned up the offensive pressure a bit in the second half, but Yale’s defense held strong.
Elise Wilcox (two saves) and Rachel Ames (three) split the goalkeeping duties to post the shutout.
“You’re always nervous the first time you play,” Meredith said. “I’m pleased with how we performed. Quinnipiac battled hard and we had to stay focused the whole game.”
Yale finished with a 14-11 edge in shots.
Meredith got a look at a number of players on opening night. Nineteen Bulldogs saw action, and four freshmen – Meg Byfield, Sarah McCauley, Maggie Furlong and Hudson started.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Tuesday when they play at Sacred Heart at 7 p.m.