Yale field hockey (5–6, 2–1 Ivy League) traveled to the Midwest for the first time last weekend to take on two top 20 titans.
This season, the Bulldogs are playing more top 20 teams than ever before in its history. Ranked 23rd in the NCAA standings, the team took on No. 13, the University of Michigan (9–3, 2–1 Big Ten), and No. 14 Northwestern (10–6, 1–3 Big Ten) over the weekend. While the Elis dropped a 7–1 loss to Michigan on Saturday, they bounced back to knock out Northwestern 3-2 Sunday afternoon — the first win Yale has marked against a top 15 team in 14 years.
“The win against a top 15 team was a tremendous team effort and a great accomplishment for all of us,” midfielder Dinah Landshut ’12 said.
Yale scored first against Michigan but could not defend against the Wolverines’ tenacious offense. Gabby Garcia ’14 seized an early 1–0 lead for the Bulldogs at the nine-minute mark. But the final 50 minutes marked a series of seven unanswered goals to result in a heartbreaking 7–1 loss.
Before the end of the first half, Michigan had swept past goalkeeper Emily Cain ’14 four times. Yale outshot Michigan 7–5 in the second half, but none of Yale’s shots made it past Ann Arbor keeper Haley Jones as the Wolverines blasted three more goals to capture the win.
Overall, Michigan outshot Yale 14–9 and held a 7–3 penalty-corner advantage. Cain finished with four saves.
The Northwestern game was a different story. The Bulldogs regrouped from their defeat and impressed the crowd with a win against Northwestern — a team known for nationally ranked top scorer Chelsea Armstrong, who was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year last season.
Although Yale and Northwestern clashed head-to-head the entire game, forward Mia Rosati ’12 said the team did not allow the loss against Michigan to affect its play.
The Wildcats started the game by muscling two shots toward the goal, but neither could score for 20 minutes. But at the 20-minute mark, the Bulldogs broke the stalemate. Mary Beth Barham ’13 sent a shot on net, which forward Jessie Accurso ’15 redirected to Rosati. Rosati converted for her seventh goal of the season.
The Bulldogs took a 1–0 lead, but Northwestern forward/midfielder Nikki Parsley rocketed a shot to tie the game just after halftime.
Ten minutes later, back Taylor Sankovich ’12 converted a corner opportunity to score and bring the Elis again into the lead, and three minutes later Erin Carter ’12 secured this lead with a corner shot.
The Wildcats fought back. Armstong pointed six shots towards the goal, but only one passed Yale’s tight defense, and Northwestern came up a goal short.
“Sunday was a great comeback from a tough loss against Michigan,” Landshut said.
Ona McConnell ’13 added that the team had prepared well in practice this past week for their trip to the Midwest.
Head coach Pam Stuper said in a press release the win was an “incredible team effort, and everybody followed the game plan.”
Four of the team’s six losses this season have been against teams currently ranked top 15 in the country. In two of these games — against No. 4 UConn and No. 10 Albany — Yale fell short by just one goal.
The Bulldogs will take on Dartmouth on Saturday.