Field hockey is over .500 and loving it

After picking up its first Ivy win of the season Saturday, the field hockey team snagged a second victory the very next day — a win that puts the squad above .500 for the first time in years.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs (6-5, 1-2 Ivy) eked out a 1-0 win over Ivy rival Dartmouth (2-7, 1-3) in an intense homefield faceoff that went into double overtime and lasted more than 85 minutes. And yesterday they took that momentum one game further, defeating Holy Cross (3-10) in a 2-1 victory, their sixth of the season — and one win more than last year’s total, with six still to play. It was the second weekend in a row that the Bulldogs won both of their games.

“It’s great to sweep the weekend again,” midfielder Ali Rotondo ’09 said. “And as of now, we have a winning record, which is just phenomenal. All our hard work is finally showing in the games’ scores.”

Amidst Saturday’s heat and humidity, the Bulldogs and the Big Green battled to find the back of the net as minute after minute passed scorelessly. The Elis began to take control offensively as early as the first half, taking 12 shots in 35 minutes, compared to Dartmouth’s seven. And in the second half they dominated, tallying another 10 shots and holding the Big Green to just one. But they could not manage to get past Dartmouth goalie Jordan Sedlacek, who made 13 saves during regulation play. Eli goaltender Charlotte Goins ’10 played her role perfectly, saving four over the course of 70 minutes so that the game was scoreless when the clock ran out.

The first overtime period was the most significant threat to the Bulldogs, as the Big Green seized control, taking six shots on goal in those extra 15 minutes. But Goins was up to the challenge, stopping all six and carrying the game to its second overtime after the whistle blew without a goal scored.

“At that point, I think the team was just exhausted,” team captain Harriet Thayer ’08 said. “But we’ve been training so hard, and so we used that training and kept going.”

The second overtime would not last nearly as long — only 35 seconds into the period, the Bulldogs beat Sedlacek at last. Forward Cat Lindroth ’08 fired a shot into the Big Green’s net off an assist from Thayer, ending the game after an exhausting 85 minutes and 35 seconds of play.

“It was a thrilling game, a real battle,” head coach Pam Stuper said. “We had a lot of opportunities to score, and we just couldn’t get one to fall for us. We dominated most of the game, both stats-wise and during play itself, but it was just a great battle. And Charlotte had a fantastic game. She made some beautiful saves to keep us in it.”

In contrast to Saturday’s match, the faceoff against the Crusaders featured much of the offensive action early on. Just 7:26 into the first, Holy Cross midfielder/defender Alanna Sikorski managed to loft one past Goins unassisted, giving the Crusaders an early lead. But the Bulldogs bounced back barely a minute later, when defensive back Beth Raveche ’08 notched her first career goal assisted by forward Ashley McCauley ’10 and Thayer. And at 27:28, back Julia Weiser ’10 scored another one for the Elis, giving them the 2-1 lead that would become the final score more than 40 minutes later.

“Even though yesterday wasn’t our best performance, we still managed a win,” Rotondo said. “And that’s when you know you’re in a good place — when you can play not quite at your best and still pull out a victory.”

The Bulldogs are now blazing forward on an impressive five-game winning streak and looking ahead to next weekend’s home game against the Harvard Crimson (7-4, 3-0), who are standing strong at the top of the Ivy League rankings. After weeks of hard work and struggle, the Elis are finally getting the rewards they’ve strived for, Raveche said.

“We’re seeing the payoff of working really, really hard,” she said. “It’s that winning streak and the atmosphere of the team that makes it all worthwhile.”

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