Field hockey faces Ancient Eight test

When the field hockey team visits the Big Green this weekend, they will need to come up big if they hope to snag the Ivy crown.

The Bulldogs (2-7, 1-1 Ivy) first head to Hanover, N.H. on Saturday to take on Ancient Eight foe Dartmouth (3-5, 1-2), where they will fight to stay in the race for the Ivy title. Yale will then face their highest-ranked opponent yet, No. 6 North Carolina (9-4), the following afternoon at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

If the Elis can defeat Dartmouth, they will stay in the hunt for the league championship. Princeton and Brown both enter this weekend undefeated in Ivy play, while every other team in the league has at least two losses, including the Big Green. Yale is currently tied for third in the Ivy League with Cornell, just above Dartmouth and Penn — which are tied for fifth — and Columbia and Harvard, who are tied for seventh.

Midfielder Lindsay Collins ’07 said the Bulldogs are upbeat and will try to return to the basics of their game this weekend.

“When we play 1-2 touch passing we’re a very strong team,” she said. “We didn’t do it the past two games, but we did it very well against Cornell and the results showed.”

Yale suffered two losses to Sacred Heart and Holy Cross last week, while Dartmouth is on a two-game winning streak after notching a 2-1 win over Penn and defeating New Hampshire. But the team lost to Princeton, 2-1, by the same margin as the Bulldogs, and to the Bears, 0-2, in September.

In last year’s contest against the Big Green, forward Cat Lindroth ’08 scored Yale’s lone goal in a tough 4-1 loss. Captain Heather Orrico ’07 had four of the Bulldogs’ nine shots for the game. Returning goalkeeper Elizabeth Friedlander ’07 allowed two goals and made three saves in 35 minutes in goal.

Midfielder Ali Rotondo ’09 said the Elis are refocused after a full week of practice and ready for Saturday’s game.

“We’re definitely working on fixing the areas we’ve struggled in so we can be strong in all areas and dictate the play in the game this Saturday against Dartmouth,” she said.

After going 6-11 last year and winning only one Ivy game, 1-0, against Harvard, the Bulldogs are facing a tougher non-conference schedule this season. On Sunday, the Elis will take on the Tar Heels, the second team ranked in the top 20 nationally that they have played this season. North Carolina has outscored its opponents 49-15 in goal this season and has played no teams that overlap with the Bulldogs’ schedule. Yale has previously played current No. 10 UConn, who they suffered a 6-0 loss to on Sept. 6.

The Tar Heel attack is led by senior forward/midfielder Karen Mann, who is the team leader in goals with 10 to date. Freshman goalkeeper Brianna O’Donnell has played all 13 games so far this season and has a .779 save percentage.

Although Sunday’s non-league game will be important, players said Saturday’s Ivy test is crucial.

“We’re extremely confident about this weekend,” Lindroth said. “While we’ve been disappointed in our games out of Ivy play, we’re really going into the Dartmouth game with the confidence of the Cornell game and not the disappointment of the last two games.”

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