PHILADELPHIA — The Yale women’s field hockey team gutted out another tough Ivy League win Sunday, overcoming an unorthodox playing surface and questionable officiating to steal a 3–2 overtime win from Penn at Franklin Field.
Things got off to a shaky start for the Bulldogs when Penn’s Kelsey Tahan scored just 30 seconds into the game to give the Quakers a 1–0 lead. The game quickly got worse for the Elis when Tahan struck again just 10 minutes later, leaving the Elis facing a two-goal deficit.
Making the climb back into the game all the more difficult was the fact that Penn plays on field turf — a longer turf than field hockey’s typical Astroturf. For much of the first half, the Bulldogs struggled to adjust to the slower pace of the ball and the atypical bounces. It was not until just 10 minutes remained in the first half that Yale finally got on the board, when midfielder Dinah Landshut ’12 fed forward Ashley McCauley ’10 for McCauley’s 12th goal of the season, sending Yale to halftime just one goal down.
The Bulldogs adjusted their strategy at halftime — just 10 minutes into the second half, the Elis tied it up when Mia Rosati ’12 dove to deflect a McCauley shot in for the goal.
The game remained tied through the rest of second half despite numerous scoring chances for both sides, culminating in a flurry of shots from Penn in the final minute that required a save by goalie Charlotte Goins ’10 and a defensive save from Marissa Waldemore ’11 to send the game to overtime.
It did not take long for Yale to deliver the fatal blow in the extra period. Just three minutes in, the tandem of Rosati and McCauley sent Penn packing when Rosati pushed a McCauley pass past Penn goalie Kieran Sweeney to give the Bulldogs their fourth Ivy League win of the season.
McCauley’s four-point performance gives her 28 for the season, just three points away from the school record. Her 12 goals this season place her five away from the Yale’s all-time record in that category.
The victory brings Yale’s overtime record this season to 2–2, and it was made possible by the Bulldogs’ ability to stay focused on things they could control — despite some referee calls they said were questionable.
“We didn’t let the refs distract us — we stayed focused on our goals.” Landshut said. “We had to make some adjustments to the turf at halftime because the pace of the ball was so much slower. We talked about stepping up to the ball more in order to keep possession, and once we made those adjustments we were able to play our game.”
Forward Chelsey Locarno ’12 added, “We ended up using more short corners and eliminating the stick stopper because the ball was so short and bouncy. Their lines were slow to react, so we tried to get them moving around and find some holes.”
The Bulldogs record now stands at 10–5, 4–1 in the Ivy League, making 2009 one of the best seasons in the program’s history.
“Sunday was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had on the field,” captain Julia Weiser ’10 said. “I never got nervous. There was no doubt in my mind who was going to win that game.”
With the victory, Yale remains tied with Cornell for second overall in the Ivy League with two games to go. The Bulldogs will try to continue their success in Ivy League competition when they travel to play Columbia on Sunday at 1 p.m.