Mann's Penalty Kick Lifts Yale Over CCSU

Oct. 29, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Entering Wednesday's game with Central Connecticut, Yale hadn't been awarded a penalty kick all season. Head coach Rudy Meredith had become so frustrated with the situation he had his team stop practicing them. So when the referee signaled for a penalty kick after Maggie Westfal was tripped in the box late in the second overtime, Meredith wasn't even sure who should take it. Natalia Mann did the honors, and she calmly banged it into the top left corner to lift Yale to a thrilling 3-2 victory on a very chilly night at Reese Stadium.

The win extended the Bulldogs' unbeaten streak to four. Westfal and Becky Brown also scored for Yale, and freshman Adelaide Gay played the final 61:52 in goal to earn her first career victory.

Despite holding a 9-4 edge in shots and creating a number of good scoring chances, the Bulldogs trailed 1-0 at halftime.

"I thought we played a very good first half, so it was frustrating to be down a goal," Meredith said.

Yale switched to a 4-3-3 formation in the second half and the move paid dividends midway through the period. Emma Whitfield sent a long ball forward to Westfal, who drew the goalkeeper out and sent a cross to a wide open Brown. Brown easily tapped it in to tie the score at 1-1 at 71:51.

Less than three minutes later, the Bulldogs struck again. Alana Gebhart sent a nearly 30-yard pass to Westfal, who corralled it, made a move to elude the goalie and put it in the back of the net at 74:22.

"Those were two of our best goals of the season," Meredith said.

It looked like Westfal's goal would be the game-winner until Central's Rachel Caneen scored her second goal of the game with just 4:29 left in the second half to force overtime.

Yale (8-5-2) finished with a 15-11 edge in shots and had five corner kicks. Ayana Sumiyasu played the first half in goal for the Bulldogs and made two saves.

The Blue Devils (9-6-4) had won six of their last seven games entering the night and have a victory over UConn on their resume this season.

"I give our kids a lot of credit for coming back," Meredith said.

The Bulldogs host Columbia on Senior Night on Saturday at 7 p.m. Westfal, Whitfield, Mann and Hayley Zevenbergen will be honored prior to kickoff.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

Video by David Dikranian