At one end of Johnson Field, Princeton field hockey players gathered loosely around their head coach, Beth Bozman, while stretching sore hamstrings and calves.
On the other end, flushed faces listened with rapt attention to Yale field hockey head coach Ainslee Lamb’s postgame breakdown immediately following a 7-0 loss to Princeton — the reigning Ivy League champion.
Lamb hunched over with her hands on her knees, trying to invoke some passion in a team that played without conviction for 70 minutes.
“We played with fear today,” Lamb said. “And when you play with fear, you are going to get pummeled, especially by a phenomenal team like Princeton.”
The shutout took place before a crowd of over 100 people, who sat through intermittent drizzle.
The vaunted Princeton offensive line, one that averaged 3.70 goals per game last season, third best in the nation, lived up to its reputation. Ilvy Friebe, the nation’s leading scorer, put the Tigers up quickly with two unassisted goals, a minute apart early in the game. Cory Picketts scored Princeton’s third goal at 11:57 and was credited with the assist on Maren Ford’s squeaker with eight seconds left in the first half.
On the defensive end, Princeton (1-1, 1-0) used the zone to perfection, never allowing Yale (0-1, 0-1) a clear line to the goal. Yale dropped its players back in an attempt to penetrate the Tiger zone and, consequently, there were only one or two players left in scoring position.
“[Lamb] always has a strong game plan,” Bozman said of her counterpart, “but we were able to isolate their play pretty well today.”
The Bulldogs did take 13 shots, but were unable to capitalize on the few opportunities they had, often looking hesitant and weary with their sticks.
“Being the underdogs, a team can step up to the challenge and compete or can let the other team and their talent dominate the game,” captain Rachel Burnes ’03 said. “In our case today, we let their talent psych us out and played with fear.”
To open the second half, Picketts notched her second goal, unassisted, at 28:38 on a penalty stroke. Less than three minutes later, Ashley Sennett put Princeton up by six. Ford netted her second goal of the day with 6:45 left. Friebe assisted on the final two goals.
Yale allowed the Tigers to take 17 shots and, though goalie Krissy Nesburg ’04 recorded 5 saves and sweeper Meredith Hudson ’05 earned a defensive save, they weren’t picked up by the rest of the backfield. Perhaps the only highlight for the Eli women was the zeal and determination of rookie Bridget Henn ’06.
“[Henn], who is perhaps the most timid person on our team, challenged and beat the Princeton attack,” Burnes said.
Due to September 11, last year’s Yale-Princeton game was pushed back to the tail end of the schedule. After being plagued with frustrating overtime losses, the Bulldogs played arguably their best game of the season in a 3-2 loss.
“Last year we went in with a different mentality and played like we had nothing to lose,” Suzanne Anthony ’03 said. “Today we went out with a lot of confidence and excitement but ended up playing scared.”
The Bulldogs will face off against Holy Cross (1-3) at home this Wednesday at 6 PM.
“[The Yale players] have to learn that they can’t flip a switch when it’s game time,” Lamb said. “They have to show up prepared.”
When asked about the mindset of the team going into the next match, Burnes said, “We’re pissed and ready to win.”