The field hockey team has the players, the experience and the skills. Yet they seem to be missing something — something that will help them pull out tough games.

In their second close loss in a row, the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-1 Ivy) fell 3-1 to the Holy Cross Crusaders (6-1) Wednesday night in Worcester, Mass.

The Elis found themselves down 2-1 with less than four minutes remaining in the game. Realizing her team desperately needed to score, head coach Ainslee Lamb made the decision to replace Yale goalie Krissy Nesburg ’04 with a kicking back.

“It’s a high-risk move,” Lamb said. “But we wanted to go for the goal.”

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it was the Crusaders who were able to take advantage of the situation. With 2:56 remaining, Kristina Dodier found Liz Tutella in front of the open goal, putting Holy Cross up 3-1.

Now down by two, Lamb put Nesburg back in the cage, but time ran out before either team could score again.

Even the small victory margin exaggerated the difference between the teams, who were closely matched. Early in the first half, the momentum swung from Yale to Holy Cross and back again, but neither team was able to outplay the other and find the goal.

After a scoreless first half, both teams vied to be the first on the scoreboard.

The Crusaders were the first to hit the back of the goal at 16:38 on a penalty corner that slipped by Yale’s normally tight defensive unit.

“We came into the second half a little flat, and that hurt us,” Sarah Driscoll ’05 said. “We started reacting to what they were doing instead of being proactive.”

Six minutes later, the Crusaders took advantage of another penalty corner to increase their lead by two. Penalty corners made a crucial difference in the game, creating both Crusader goals. Holy Cross had a 17-12 advantage in shots on the day.

With her team behind, captain Caroline Thompson ’02 stepped up for the Bulldogs. Thompson took control in front of the ball to the right of the Crusader goal and shot the ball high and into the back of the cage.

“It was a great goal,” Lamb said. “The moment she got the ball, you could tell it was going in by the look in her eyes.”

Thompson’s goal brought the Bulldogs within one, but they could not come any closer.

Players voiced their frustration with this game and Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Cornell (4-1, 1-0 Ivy).

“It’s disappointing. We’re playing well, but we can’t keep it up for a whole game,” Driscoll said. “We let down just for a little bit, but it’s enough to these programs get back in.”

Lamb said she was not happy with the loss and sees something missing in her team.

She also said that after the game, Holy Cross head coach Meg Galligan said Yale was the strongest team her squad has faced this season — a compliment for the Bulldogs.

“We have the ability. It’s possible they don’t have enough desire,” Lamb said. “Everything else is in place, we just don’t have that little edge.”