The Yale field hockey team (2-2, 0-2 Ivy) traveled to Cambridge for a weekend series against Harvard and the University of Vermont. After being shut out by the Crimson, 3-0, on Saturday, the Bulldogs battled for a 2-1 win over the Catamounts, holding steady at .500.
After Saturday’s crushing defeat, Eli freshmen came out Sunday and revved up their team with spirited play.
With the score tied 1-1 and time ticking away, midfielder Kate Rivkin ’06 delivered the game winner with 9:41 remaining in the second half. Fellow rookie Bridget Henn ’06 assisted on Rivkin’s first collegiate goal.
After Vermont’s (2-6) Shawn Carney scorched one into the net to open the scoring, Yale evened the score on Maureen Braun’s ’04 penalty corner drive at 22:27 in the first half. Suzanne Anthony ’03 recorded an assist on the play.
Workhorse Krissy Nesburg ’04 stayed between the pipes for all 70 minutes, making eight saves. It was an evenly matched game, though Yale had a slight advantage in both shots and corners, notching 14 and nine in each category, respectively.
The victory served as a good ego-booster for the Eli women after they were dominated in every statistical category by the Crimson (3-1, 2-0) at Jordan Field.
Having no difficulty penetrating Yale’s defense, Harvard took an astounding 28 shots, while allowing only six. The Crimson also had nine corners to Yale’s one.
“I haven’t ever looked at stats, and I never will,” captain Rachel Burnes ’03 said. “The team that steps on the field ready to win, will end up with the victory. We didn’t play up to our potential, and for this reason only, we lost.”
Harvard’s offensive line harassed the Eli netminder the entire game, with Nesburg turning aside 14 shots. It is a testament to her skill that the Crimson attack was only able to net three goals.
“The defense works extremely hard to keep other teams from scoring, but mistakes happen, especially when the other team is attacking constantly,” Nesburg said.
By contrast, Nesburg’s counterpart, Katie Zacarian, who had three saves, remained unchallenged as her team’s stingy defense seldom allowed Yale to advance past midfield.
All three Crimson goals came in the first half. First, Shelly Maasdrop passed to forward Philomena Gambale who knocked the ball in at 26:03 for a 1-0 lead. Shortly before halftime, Harvard connected with two back-to-back penalty corner shots. Kate McDavitt took crisp feeds from Maasdrop both times and stroked the ball past Nesburg.
Yale was outplayed on all fronts throughout the game and outmatched by Harvard’s brazen tactics that maintained constant pressure in the Bulldog zone.
“In general, our backfield and midfield weren’t working well enough together to develop the play out of our defensive end,” Burnes said. “We kept trying to hit big through-balls, which ended up right back at us.”
Although both of Yale’s losses this season have come at the hands of top-tier Ivy opponents, the team felt it had the talent to upset both Princeton and Harvard. They just lacked the verve.
The Bulldogs hope to calm their jitters and perform up to expectations Wednesday when they face the University of New Hampshire at Johnson Field.
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