The women on the field hockey team probably felt like they were the only ones getting wet yesterday, when a storm swept through the athletic fields. It has been a Murphy’s Law beginning of the season for the Bulldogs.
Though they entered the year with realistic hopes for an Ivy League championship, Yale (2-4, 0-2 Ivy) is now forced to regroup after a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Cornell in Ithaca on Saturday.
The team has been hurt by injuries, too. Most notably midfielder Trish Bissett ’07, Yale’s top freshman scorer a year ago, has been limited to two games after suffering a concussion Sept. 5 against Holy Cross — her third in the last year. The team is being cautious in planning her return, which Bissett said will not be for about two or three weeks. Yale has failed to score more than once in any of the four games since Bissett’s injury.
And if the Elis are to rebound from their weekend loss, they will have to do something tonight in Storrs, Conn. that no team has done so far this season: beat UConn.
The nationally ranked No. 6 Huskies are a perfect 9-0 and have yielded just three goals all season. Their two-time All-American senior forward Lauren Henderson has scored more goals this season (12) than the entire Yale offense (9).
One Eli who is not concerned with Henderson, however, is goalie Kate Crandall ’06.
“That’s just one player,” Crandall said. “And what Yale has that UConn doesn’t is a team. I’m not going to be worried about any one player. I’m planning on stopping any shot that comes to the net.”
Forward Meredith Howell ’05 agreed that defense is not the team’s worry right now.
“Our defense has been playing really well,” she said. “Our zone defense has been really strong.”
While Yale had not discussed a gameplan to contain Henderson, Howell said the Bulldogs would try to mark her by having a defender shadow her throughout the game.
The Bulldogs have not yet devised a strategy for Henderson, mainly because they have been focusing on offense. Despite peppering Cornell goalie Lori Blutinger with 15 shots — 11 in the second half — Saturday, Yale managed to find the net just once.
“Against Cornell, that definitely should have been a game we won four or five to two,” Howell said.
After the Big Red game, it seems the Bulldogs realized they cannot win with just a barrage of shots. With nine goals on 77 shots this season, Yale leads only Princeton and Dartmouth in shooting percentage among Ivy League foes.
Midfielder Lindsay Collins ’07 said that somehow they need to break the trend.
“The team is looking for a turnaround point,” she said. “We [did] some offensive drills [Monday] and worked on a lot of goal scoring. That’s our main focus now: to put the ball in the net.”
No one knows the offense better than Crandall, who is charged with stopping the attack during practice, and the Eli goalkeeper said she has seen a change in the attitude of the forwards.
“Their mentality is, ‘Whatever it takes, we’re going to put the ball in the net,’” she said. “They’re ready to sacrifice their bodies.”