Often perceived as one of Yale’s weaker athletic programs, the field hockey team is shedding that image this season. Led by Stephanie Dolmat-Connell ’04, the Bulldogs trounced Sacred Heart 7-1 Wednesday afternoon. This was Yale’s second victory in a three-game stretch that many coaches and players are calling a turning point in the program.
“I think that this was the first time we truly dominated,” head coach Ainslee Lamb said of Wednesday’s game.
Yale (4-4, 0-2 Ivy) outshot Sacred Heart (3-9) by a staggering margin of 27-4, a statistic that Lamb pointed to as evidence for the convincing nature of the win.
Dolmat-Connell scored the first of her two goals at 26:29 and assisted on Suzanne Anthony’s ’03 goal three minutes later. Anthony then assisted Marissa McNaughton ’03 as she punctuated the half with a goal at 10:37. After 35 minutes, the Bulldogs had taken 20 shots and scored three goals, while Sacred Heart had been able to muster a solitary shot.
In the second half, Yale added four more goals. Sarah Driscoll ’05, captain Caroline Thompson ’02 and Elizabeth Topp ’05 all scored goals, and Dolmat-Connell scored her second with 8:30 to play, the Bulldogs seventh.
Sacred Heart answered only once, when Allison Enderly scored at 24:07 in the second half. Lamb said that Sacred Heart was not a pushover, but she conceded the Pioneers are not as seasoned as other teams the Bulldogs faced.
“Sacred Heart is a young team, making young mistakes,” Lamb said.
The win was the third in a series of positive games for Yale. Lamb said Wednesday’s victory, along with last week’s close loss to Harvard and victory over Rhode Island, is a sign that the team is becoming more competitive.
Lamb cited the confidence of the team’s seniors as a major reason for the team’s recent success.
“We have four seniors who want to win, and they really have kept the expectations of the program high,” Lamb said.
Dolmat-Connell said the players have noticed the shift in attitude.
“There has been a change in our team,” she said. “We have a lot more confidence [than last year].”
Lamb said that the team’s distribution of scoring frees up the offense. Ten players have scored at least a goal and five players are tied for the team lead in goals.
“We don’t have to depend on one player which means teams can’t zone in on one person,” Lamb said.
Dolmat-Connell said that the team’s strong freshman contingent, two of whom are starters, has been another reason for its success.
The Bulldogs next face Dartmouth at Johnson Field Saturday.