With a shutout win and a narrow overtime loss, the opening weekend of the field hockey season bodes well for the Bulldogs.

Yale (1-1, 0-0 Ivy) downed the University of Vermont (1-4) 1-0 Sunday in a neutral site contest hosted by Harvard. The Bulldogs then fell in overtime to the University of New Hampshire (3-3) 2-1 Friday night at Memorial Field in Durham, N.H.

The Bulldogs relied on their tough defense in both games. Goalie Krissy Nesburg ’04 led the way, recording 17 saves in the two games.

Head coach Ainslee Lamb said that Nesburg’s ability to keep the Bulldogs competitive in close matches will be key to their success this season.

In Cambridge Sunday the Vermont Catamounts struggled to hold the Elis scoreless for the first half, but could not contain them after halftime.

With 32 minutes remaining in the second half, the Elis took a penalty corner, and captain Caroline Thompson ’02 hit the backboard, assisted by midfielders Sarah Driscoll ’05 and Jana Halfon ’04.

“You couldn’t have gotten a more perfect corner than that,” Halfon said. “The push out was perfect, the stop was perfect, and Caroline Thompson’s shot was perfect.”

After the goal, the Bulldogs continued to control the tempo, outshooting the Cats 14-6 and enjoying a 12-4 margin on penalty corners.

“It’s exciting because we’re gaining confidence early in the season,” forward Suzanne Anthony ’03 said. “We saw what we needed to improve on [in the New Hampshire game] and really implemented, which helped us beat Vermont.”

In their season opener Friday, the Bulldogs seemed a little rusty against the New Hampshire Wildcats, a top-20 program last year. But despite being unaccustomed to playing on a grass field, Yale nearly pulled off the win.

During the first half, Yale’s stingy defense allowed only one goal. Anthony evened the score on a penalty stroke halfway through the second period.

With time running out, the Elis had one more chance to score on a penalty corner, but could not convert to win the game.

In overtime, the Wildcats scored at 6:09 and finally defeated the Bulldogs.

After struggling to a 3-14 record last year, the Elis are pleased to have their first victory already under their belts.

“Overall, things are really good,” Lamb said. “We have great leadership on the field, and the players all have high expectations. We have a lot of depth this year, which is allowing us to have fresher legs on the field.”