The Lions fell to the Bulldogs this weekend, losing sole possession of the top spot in the Ivy League.
The Lions (9-5-1, 5-1 Ivy) entered the match needing a win to earn the bid to the NCAA tournament, but were unable to score an early lead as they had in their previous matches, remaining tied with the Bulldogs (10-4-2, 3-2-1 Ivy) for most of the match.
Yale’s defense was unassailable, allowing the Lions 10 shots the entire game and only two in the second period. The Lions’ top scorers, sophomore Emily Koe, senior Natalie Neshat, and junior Emma Anderson, had a number of attempts in the first half, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
Nevertheless, the Lions held strong until the final minutes of play, when Yale forward Aerial Chavarin was taken down in the box. Her subsequent penalty kick slipped just out of the Lions’ junior goalie Sophie Whitehouse’s reach, putting the Bulldogs ahead in the 89th minute.
It was the first goal the Lions have allowed in conference play this season, but it had steep consequences: The Lions are now tied with Princeton for the top spot in the League with only one match remaining in the season.
The situation is lamentably familiar for the Lions. The Light Blue entered last year’s match against Yale with a similarly unbeaten conference record. While they gained an early lead, the Lions allowed a late equalizer to push the game into overtime. The Bulldogs scored a second goal within minutes, and the Lions ended up finishing third in the conference behind Harvard and Brown.
But the Lions have a chance to avoid a similar outcome and win at least part of the Ivy title when they play Harvard at home next Saturday while Princeton plays Penn. A loss for Princeton and a win for the Lions could mean sole possession of the Ivy title for the Lions for the first time since 2006.
The game against Harvard will start on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.