This week, three female athletes were named Ivy League Player of the Week in their respective sports: field hockey forward Buffy Topp ’05, women’s soccer goalie Sarah Walker ’05 and volleyball middle blocker Renee Lopes ’06. All three women helped lead their respective teams — none of which have losing records — to clutch wins this weekend.
Topp has been one of the leading Bulldog scorers all season, but her output has drastically increased in the last two weeks. She has scored six goals in the past four games, nearly half of her team’s 13 tallies during that stretch.
None of Topp’s tallies were more crucial than the two she scored in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory over Dartmouth. With her team down, Topp evened the score at two apiece with an unassisted goal 12:32 into the second half.
The score would stay tied until the end of regulation. But only 2:32 into the overtime period, Topp ended the contest with her second goal of the game, off of an assist from midfielder Harriet Thayer ’08.
The win was the field hockey team’s (5-5, 1-2 Ivy) first over an Ivy League opponent and brought the Elis up to a .500 win percentage for the first time in over a month. Topp’s two goals brought her team-leading total to eight, and her 16 points lead the Bulldogs as well.
“I’ve been trying to change my philosophy to become more defensive and hopefully get offense out of that,” Topp said. “So far I’ve been fortunate to be able to put the ball in the net.”
Walker, the captain of the women’s soccer team (7-4, 1-2 Ivy), has started all 11 games for the Bulldogs. Her prowess in goal, underscored by her 0.82 goals-against average, has helped the Elis to their winning record and the national ranking that they held earlier this season.
The only goal of Sunday’s matchup against Dartmouth was scored 54:01 into the game by forward Mimi Macauley ’07. After Macauley’s goal, the Elis shifted to a more defensive strategy that put added pressure on Walker.
Walker was forced to make two big saves to keep the Bulldog lead. With 18:21 left in the game, Walker made a diving save on Big Green midfielder Megan Wijas’ bullet to the left corner of the goal. Less than three minutes later, Dartmouth striker Christina Ferraris took a shot from in close, but Walker denied her as well.
The 1-0 win marked Walker’s fourth shutout of the season.
The victory is also the first the Elis have defeated the Big Green since 1995.
“[Sarah] wasn’t really tested early on, and sometimes that can make goalies get lazy,” midfielder Lindsey Weening ’06 said. “But Sarah stepped up like she’s supposed to and like she always does in huge games. She’s our captain, and she showed how much leadership she has.”
Friday, Lopes hit an astounding .522 with 12 kills and no attack errors en route to a 3-1 upset of Penn, the three-time defending Ivy League champion. Saturday, she hit .389 with six blocks and 15 kills in the Elis’ 3-2 loss to Princeton.
Lopes leads the volleyball team (6-5, 1-2 Ivy) with a .303 hitting percentage, a mark that is also good for third in the Ivy League. She is third among the Elis in both kills and blocks, with 101 and 23, respectively, and has committed only 25 errors this season.