After starting its conference season at 2-0, the women’s soccer team (6-8, 2-3 Ivy) struggled in recent matchups against the league’s top teams and currently sits in fifth place. Columbia head coach Kevin McCarthy says he plans to use the experience of the team’s last few conference games to turn things around, starting this Saturday when they face Yale (7-7, 1-4 Ivy).
“We have played the top three teams in the league in the last three weeks and had some moments of real quality soccer, but still have fallen short. Clearly, we are not satisfied with that,” McCarthy said earlier this week. “Our expectations are to raise our performance level and to learn from the experience we have gained in the last three games. And we believe that if we can do that, the results will take care of themselves.”
While Yale sits in seventh place with only one win so far in the Ancient Eight, it has proven that it can be competitive with some of the major forces in the league. The Bulldogs took both fourth-place Harvard and first-place Princeton into overtime in late September with tenacious defensive displays. On offense, the Bulldogs have struggled to generate attacks in conference matchups thus far, having only scored three goals in their five Ivy League games. Despite the scoring drought, Yale still boasts a few offensive weapons in their lineup. Senior midfielder Kirsten Forster leads the Bulldogs’ offense with six goals on the year.
To be competitive aganst the Bulldogs, the Light Blue will need to rely on sophomore goalkeeper Grace Redmon, who will try for her seventh shutout of the year this weekend. After suffering an injury in the middle of last weekend’s loss to Dartmouth, McCarthy said that Redmon will be ready to start this Saturday against Yale. Senior starting midfielder Liz Crowe, who also went down in last week’s matchup, is still recovering from her injury and will not play against Yale.
While Redmon and the defense are ready to take on Yale, the Lions will need to get their offense in gear in order to defeat the Bulldogs this weekend. The Lions have struggled to convert strong offensive drives into goals in the attacking third, a problem that McCarthy said has been a central focus in this week’s practices. “It’s definitely a part of our approach to create the conditions for scoring, and we’ll be looking to improve upon that on Saturday,” he said.
The match starts this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Yale.