FIELD HOCKEY: Ivy showdown for Yale

Midfielder Katie Cantore ’10 dribbles past a UConn defender on Oct. 11. The Elis fell to the Huskies, 5-3.
Midfielder Katie Cantore ’10 dribbles past a UConn defender on Oct. 11. The Elis fell to the Huskies, 5-3. Photo by Chelsea Janes.

The women’s field hockey team will look to continue its climb up the national polls this weekend as it faces off against Ivy League rival Dartmouth (6–6, 2–1 Ivy) Saturday and intrastate foe Fairfield (4–9) Sunday.

The Bulldogs (6–5, 2–1), who received 12 votes in this week’s national coaches’ poll, are coming off a tough 5–3 defeat at the hands of No. 7 UConn on Sunday. Yale’s 2–1 record in Ivy League play is good for second overall in the league, tied with Cornell (whom the Elis beat 1–0), as well as Saturday’s opponent, Dartmouth.

In their most recent outing, the Big Green suffered a 2–0 defeat to No. 6 Syracuse. Sophomore goalie Meagan Vakiener’s 21 saves were not enough to overcome the astounding 39-7 shot advantage the Orange held over the Dartmouth offense in the game. The Big Green’s attack — led by Kelly Hood’s 11 goals and seven assists and Kelly McHenry’s 10 assists — has scored 32 goals in 12 games this season.

Fairfield will also come to Johnson Field having also lost its last game, a hard-fought 3–2 overtime loss to Lehigh Wednesday night. Sophomore forward Marit Westenberg, junior midfielder Anne Nieuwenheis and junior defender Melanie Leo lead the way for the Stags offensively with 10 points apiece. Defensively, sophomore goalie Caitlin O’Donnell brings a .661 save percentage to Sunday’s matchup, giving up an average of 3.58 goals a game in 12 games this season.

The Elis will counter both offenses this weekend with a powerful and balanced attack of their own, which has seen seven different players score five or more points this season. Ashley McCauley ’10 and Katie Cantore ’10 (17 and 12 points, respectively) continue to lead the way for the Elis but recently have been joined in the double-digit scoring club by defender Erin Carter ’12, who has scored four goals in her last five games.

With a win Saturday against Dartmouth, the Bulldogs would keep themselves in good position in the Ivy League standings. Undefeated Princeton currently holds the top spot, but if the Elis take victories in their four remaining Ivy League matchups (Dartmouth, Columbia, Penn and Brown) and Princeton stumbles, the Elis just might find themselves holding a share of the Ivy League title.

“We have showed that our team is better than people believe us to be, and we can hang with nationally ranked teams,” forward Mia Rosati ’12 said, who scored in Sunday’s game. “But hanging with them isn’t enough,” she continued. “We have to find a way to come up with a win and can’t keep accepting these ‘good losses.’ ”

The Bulldogs will look to avenge Sunday’s loss and continue to prove they are among the nation’s best when they take the field against Dartmouth at noon Saturday. That contest will be followed by a 2 p.m. matchup with Fairfield Sunday. Both games are at Johnson Field.

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