Nov. 11, 2007
PRINCETON, N.J. - Yale's hopes for an Ivy League title were dashed when Penn beat Harvard on Saturday. The Bulldogs, though, made a strong case that they belong in the NCAA College Cup on Sunday. Emma Whitfield and Becky Brown scored less than six minutes apart early in the second half as Yale cruised to a 3-1 victory over Princeton on a chilly afternoon at Princeton Stadium.
The Bulldogs (11-6, 5-2 Ivy) finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak and have victories in nine of their last 11 games. Three of Yale's six losses this fall have come to teams ranked in the SoccerBuzz.com top 30 - No. 3 Portland, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 27 Duke.
"Our strength of schedule is the biggest reason we have a legitimate chance to get in," said Yale head coach Rudy Meredith. "We played the toughest schedule in the league."
The pairings for the 2007 NCAA College Cup will be announced on Monday night at approximately 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNNews.
The Bulldogs, who have reached the NCAA College Cup in two of the last three years, played an inspired second half Sunday against Princeton. Whitfield's goal just 1:02 in snapped a 1-1 tie. It came when she banged in the rebound of a Maggie Westfal shot.
"Emma is really starting to click," Meredith said. "She's finally healthy and is really into the flow."
"At halftime, we knew 45 minutes was all we had left, so we went out and put it all on the line," Westfal said.
Westfal had given the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead at 17:04 when she lofted a shot from 30 yards out that sailed over the head of Princeton goalkeeper Maren Dale.
"The last thing coach said to us before we came out of the locker room was that their goalie likes to come off the line," Westfal said. "I just shot it as hard as I could."
The Yale goal, though, seemed to inspire the Tigers, and they were rewarded for their improved play when Vicki Anagnostopoulos banged in an Ashley Beyers' corner kick in the 28th minute.
"We were losing the ball in the midfield too much at times in the first half," Meredith said. "We talked about doing a better job in the midfield at halftime."
Susan Starr had a strong game in goal for the Bulldogs, stopping seven shots. Her best save of the game came in the first half when she dove to her right to snare Anagnostopoulos' header from right in front. Yale's defense, anchored by Mary Kuder, Sophia Merrifield and Hannah Smith, also did a good job containing Princeton forward Diana Matheson, who came into the game with six goals and seven assists, despite playing in only nine games.
Yale finished with an 18-13 edge in shots.
Now the Bulldogs must wait to see if their season continues.
"We've played teams in the top 25 and done well in our region," Westfal said. "We'll see what happens."
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity