FIELD HOCKEY | Second half comeback against Vermont helps Elis split weekend

The Bulldogs recovered from a defeat to Harvard with a second-half come- back against Vermont after trailing 2–0 to the Catamounts.
The Bulldogs recovered from a defeat to Harvard with a second-half come- back against Vermont after trailing 2–0 to the Catamounts. Photo by Tasnim Elboute.

With its Alumnae Weekend celebrations as a backdrop, the field hockey team split its two games this weekend by identical 3–2 scores.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs opened Ivy League play with a loss against Harvard before rebounding with a second-half comeback victory over Vermont on Sunday.

The games took place amid former players returning to Yale and ceremonies recognizing the recent endowment of the head coaching position in honor of Caroline Ruth Thompson ’02.

“It was exciting having the alums back,” midfielder Georgia Holland ’14 said. “They all are super supportive of the program and it’s inspiring to see their ongoing passion for Yale and field hockey.”

But the support of their alumnae could not help the Bulldogs (1–4, 0–1 Ivy) on Saturday as they fell to Harvard (2–2, 1–0 Ivy) for the first time in five years. The Elis were outshot by the Crimson 26–19, and only the 16 saves made by goalkeeper Emily Cain ’14 kept the Bulldogs in the game. Harvard also held an advantage in penalty corners, 17–6.

Yale trailed the entire way, as Crimson forward Noel Painter scored the lone goal of first half in the 28th minute, and the Crimson extended their lead to 2–0 only two minutes into the second half. Forward Erica Borgo ’14 was able to bring the Elis within one when she scored unassisted at 56:24, but the Crimson stretched their lead back to two with about five minutes left in the game on a goal from forward Marissa Balleza.

As time expired, midfielder Holland scored on a penalty corner to bring the final score to 3–2.

“[The loss] against Harvard was really disappointing,” Holland said. “We weren’t able to execute our game plan the way we wanted to.”

The next day the Bulldogs were able to recover against Vermont (0-8, 0-0 America East), winning with the same 3–2 margin by which they fell to Harvard.

The Elis outshot the Catamounts 23–9 in the first half and had the advantage in penalty corners 8–0 over the first 35 minutes, but they were unable to convert as Vermont goalkeeper Stephanie Zygmunt made 18 saves to keep the Bulldogs off the board. Yale went into the locker room at halftime down 2–0 off of two goals by junior forward Ashley McDonald.

Head coach Pam Stuper said at halftime she told her players they just needed to keep up their offensive pressure and they would be successful.

“We need to keep doing what we are doing. We were getting opportunities and it was just a matter of finishing those,” Stuper said. “Vermont had an incredibly strong goalkeeper and we were shooting right at the goalie. We need to shoot around the goalkeeper, make her move and be ready for rebounds.”

Yale held Vermont scoreless in the second half, limiting them to no shots and zero penalty corners. And finally, the Bulldogs broke through at the 49:38 minute mark with a goal off a penalty corner by Holland.

Borgo ’14 tied the game up at the 57:10 mark with a goal assisted by forward Rhoni Gericke ’17, and the comeback was completed by forward Jessie Accurso ’15, who scored her first goal of the season with seven minutes remaining.

“It was nice to see us respond strongly against Vermont,” Holland said. “We got ourselves into a tricky situation being down at halftime, but showed a lot of perseverance to rally in the second half. We finally played quality field hockey in that second half. It’s really motivating going into this week against Princeton.”

The Bulldogs travel to Princeton on Friday looking for their first Ivy League win of the season.

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