The Elis will have a grand finale match to end the Ivy League season tomorrow against No.13 Cornell in Ithaca.
After two comfortable victories against Columbia (13–9) and Brown (9–6) at home, Yale (5-8, 2-4 Ivy) succeeded in grabbing sixth place in the Ivies and is now fully prepared to take a giant leap toward the third spot in the conference standings. The Elis are short of one win compared to Cornell, Harvard and Princeton, the three teams that currently share third place in the Ivies. If Yale beats Cornell and attains a 3–4 record, and the third place teams — all playing other Ivy schools this weekend and next week — fall in their matches, Yale will enter the tie for third.
“[Cornell is] an experienced team, but except for their advantage in experience, we can match-up fairly well with them,” head coach Anne Phillips said.
The team has won their last two Ivy matches, against Brown and Columbia. Although the Bulldogs lost five of six of their away matches this season, the team members recovered confidence after storming in 22 goals to take down the two conference teams and are looking to clich its third Ivy win.
“Our team is carrying a lot of positive energy to Ithaca this weekend,” Phillips said.
When they last met in Reese Stadium, not even a marvelous hat trick by defender Adrienne Tarver ’14 did enough for the Elis to avoid the huge 14–3 defeat. Throughout the entire game, Cornell (8–4, 3–2 Ivy) was on a scoring rampage with no sign of slowing down. The Big Red outperformed the Bulldogs in almost all aspects of the game despite Yale’s home ground advantage. The Big Red tripled Yale in shots (34–11), had eight more groundballs (24–16) and controlled 13 more draws (16–3).
Still, the team remains unphased by last year’s upset.
“We are a much more athletic team than we were last year, and that will help us to compete with Cornell this year,” Phillips said. “Player experience is on Cornell’s side, fearlessness is on ours.”
She added that Cornell is strong on offense whereas the Bulldogs excel at defense.
Although Tarver is expected to return in tomorrow’s match, she has not scored any goals so far this season, as she has been focusing more on the defensive aspect of game. Meanwhile, Cornell’s team captain and star player Jessi Steinberg, was responsible for nearly a third of the goals scored against the Bulldogs last time the team’s met. She is also the lead scorer for the Big Red this season, with 37 goals under her name so far. Her accolades include the All-Ivy first team and IWLCA Northeast Region second-team in 2011. But Yale’s own captain Caroline Crow ’12 has scored 29 goals this season for the Elis.
Another key Big Red player to keep an eye on is attacker Caroline Salisbury, who has also scored a goal against Yale last year. Trailing closely behind Steinberg, Salisbury is currently Cornell’s second top scorer with 30 goals.
“We cannot afford [Steinberg and Salisbury] to have great games on Saturday, and they will be marked tightly all day,” Phillips said.
With now only one final Ivy League match remaining, the Bulldogs will be betting on their ability to keep their winning momentum flowing. With 123 goals scored so far and still going strong, they just might have what it takes to sink the Big Red and decorate their last Ivy game with a refreshing hat trick victory.
Phillips said as more players are contributing offensively in goals and assists, a balanced offense should help the team perform against Cornell and finish the conference season on a high note.
Faceoff is at noon tomorrow.