In its inaugural game on the Johnson Field, the field hockey team ushered in a new era of Yale field hockey with a 4-3 overtime defeat of Fairfield (3-2).

After enduring losing seasons in 1999 and 2000, the Bulldogs (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) looked like a different and more confident team last night.

“It’s good to win,” Tovia Martirosian ’02 said, voicing the Bulldogs’ satisfaction following the hard-fought victory.

That win finally came after a nail-biting extra period.

In the 15-minute sudden death overtime, the Bulldogs’ tough defense put them in position to win the game. With less than three minutes remaining, the Stags were granted a penalty corner. When the play began, Yale captain Caroline Thompson ’02 rushed to the ball and blocked the shot.

The Yale defense cleared the ball into the Stags’ territory. But as the ball headed toward the far corner, it looked as if the Bulldogs might miss their chance to score. A sprinting Suzanne Anthony ’03 refused to give up the opportunity and kept the ball in bounds. She quickly centered, allowing Martirosian to gain control. With only 1:51 remaining in the extra period, she turned and hammered the ball past Fairfield goalie Lauren Thomas and into the left side of the net. The goal, her second of the day, secured the win for Yale.

The victory was especially sweet for the Bulldogs, who lost to the Stags 3-2 in overtime last year.

“We are turning things around,” Thompson said. “It’s a matter of being able to work that much harder than the other team for 15 more minutes. This year is a clean slate.”

Head coach Ainslee Lamb agreed that the game was representative of the change in the team’s attitude.

“The team leadership is very good in our senior class,” she said. “The girls have a lot drive and a lot of passion. We have learned from our losses and definitely don’t want to [repeat last season].”

Yale got off to a dominating start in the opening minutes of the first half. With 24:39 remaining, Sarah Driscoll ’05 emerged from a pack in front of the goal and drilled a shot past Thomas for the game’s first score.

The Eli attack continued to pressure the Stag defense and exploit its weaknesses. Stephanie Dolmat-Connell ’04 found an opening and drove toward the goal from 20 yards out. Thomas moved towards her, but could not block the shot.

Although the Bulldogs had a comfortable 2-0 lead heading into the second half, Fairfield quickly struck back with a goal in the first four minutes of play.

The Stags continued their barrage of shots, tallying a total of three unanswered goals with 14:45 remaining. Each time, Yale’s star goalie, Krissy Nesburg ’04, dove for the ball but could not come up with the save.

Finally, the Bulldogs responed to Fairfield’s goals when Martirosian scored on a penalty corner with 7:18 remaining. As regulation came to an end, the Stags were awarded a penalty corner, but could not convert, sending the game into overtime.

Yale’s defense proved the difference, as the Stags outshot the Bulldogs 14-10 but could not find the back of the net enough to eke out the win. Nesburg, who has played every minute of every game this year, had another fanastic game, tallying nine saves.

The Elis will play their Ivy League opener against Cornell Saturday at 12 p.m. on the Johnson Field. The Big Red (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) is coming off a 6-1 drubbing of SUNY-Albany almost two weeks ago. Both teams are looking to open their Ivy campaigns with a win.

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