At first glance, a 3-8 record may not seem overly impressive, but for the field hockey team, it’s quite an accomplishment.
Kicking off a four-game road swing this weekend, the Bulldogs surpassed their record from the 2005 campaign by picking up a second Ivy win. In the first game, Yale defeated Dartmouth, 3-1, on Saturday in Hanover, N.H., to move into sole possession of third place in the league. The following afternoon, the Elis were able to hold No. 6 North Carolina (11-4) to a two-goal lead in the first half, but ultimately dropped a tough 6-0 decision in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
After two hard-fought losses last week against Sacred Heart and Holy Cross, forward Alyssa Jethani ’09 said the Bulldogs were thrilled with their effort this weekend.
“At Dartmouth, we stepped it up and we played how we know we can play,” she said. “We played smart hockey and we converted.”
At Scully-Fahey Field, the Bulldogs took control of the pace from the start. On a penalty corner in the eighth minute, midfielder Lindsay Collins ’07 drilled the ball to midfielder Harriet Thayer ’08. Thayer, in turn, set up a shot for captain Heather Orrico ’07 from 16 yards out that got by Dartmouth goalkeeper Jordan Sedlacek.
Big Green midfielder Katy Hagy tied the game with nearly 20 minutes left on the clock after a scramble in front of the cage. Although Yale led Dartmouth 9-3 in shots and 3-0 in penalty corners, the teams went into halftime tied, 1-1.
Their level of play was more evenly matched for the second half, but Collins was able to break the tie with a tally at the 23:09 mark. Forward Cat Lindroth ’08 clinched the game for the Bulldogs with just over three minutes to play when she fired a shot past a diving Sedlacek into the left side of the goal, topping off a 3-1 victory.
With the win in Hanover, Yale is now only one game behind 3-0 Brown and a game and a half behind 4-0 Princeton in the league standings. The Bulldogs have six games to play this fall, four of them Ivy, after facing stiff non-league competition in preparation for Ancient Eight opponents.
The squad faced their highest-ranked team yet Sunday in the Tar Heels, perennially one of the strongest collegiate teams in the nation. In the matchup played at a neutral Boston College field, North Carolina earned their seventh shutout of the season when they broke open a 2-0 game with a flurry of second-half goals.
Forward Rachel Lentz ’07 said the lopsided score did not reflect the extent to which the Elis challenged the Carolina attack.
“So few teams actually get an opportunity to play a team like UNC,” she said. “We were able to stick with them. Heather Orrico and Harriet Thayer especially had amazing games.”
After two early Carolina goals, freshman goalkeeper Charlotte Goins ’10 relieved veteran Elizabeth Friedlander ’07, and the rookie held the Tar Heels scoreless for the remainder of the half. Friedlander returned for the second half, then Goins went back in for the final eight minutes. The two ended up combining for 14 saves overall. Goins was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her impressive efforts and has not allowed a goal in her 52:21 minutes of play so far this season.
But the Bulldogs could not stop the Tar Heel offense, which put the game away when Jesse Gey scored 27 seconds into the second half. Karen Mann followed that up with a pair of goals within the next minute to complete her hat trick. Britt van Beek’s score at the 48-minute mark finished off the North Carolina onslaught with goal number six.
For the game, UNC had 29 shots to Yale’s six and eight corners to Yale’s two. UNC freshman goalie Brianna O’Donnell, the Under-21 National Team goalie, made five saves to earn her third consecutive shutout and seventh of the season.
Orrico said UNC head coach Karen Shelton told Eli head coach Pam Stuper that her team wanted to play Yale again when they travelled up north in future seasons.
“It was a great compliment,” Orrico said. “They were a better team, but to know that you can run with that kind of team and compete with them brought confidence to our team. I’m just so proud of the way that everyone played.”