After upsetting the University of Vermont on Sunday, the field hockey team seemed primed to record another come-from-behind victory over the University of New Hampshire Wednesday. But indecisiveness within the offensive circle cost the Bulldogs repeated scoring opportunities, and ultimately the game.
The 5-1 final score in favor of the Wildcats was not indicative of the Eli effort. Trailing 2-0 with the clock at 23:51 in the second half, forward Elizabeth Topp ’05 gathered a pass from Sarah Driscoll ’05 and took a straight shot into the net. The goal energized the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-2), but they could not take advantage of the swing in momentum.
“We lost our cohesiveness once we were in the circle,” midfielder Bridget Henn ’06 said. “Something didn’t click.”
Earlier in the season, the enemy was fear, but yesterday it was uncertainty. The Eli forwards hesitated in taking shots and challenging New Hampshire’s (6-3) defense. Though Yale was persistent at midfield, they were unable to transfer that aggressiveness to the striking circle.
“The other team is going to score; it’s just the nature of the game,” Yale head coach Ainslee Lamb said. “We need forwards who want to score, and today we didn’t have anyone.”
Each time Yale mounted a serious attack and pushed the ball up the field, they were unable to complete the play. The couple seconds the Bulldogs hesitated in taking shots allowed New Hampshire to realign the defense and obstruct the line to the goal, causing Yale to either shoot wide or lose possession of the ball.
The Wildcats applied pressure defense and slowly put the game out of reach, successfully converting a series of well-executed penalty corners.
“It seemed like they had a good set piece,” Lamb said. “If [New Hampshire] was scoring on field goals, I would be more worried.”
Yale was unable to contend with dynamic point producers Marcie Boyer and Jen Stamp, who were responsible for all of the Wildcat scoring.
Though New Hampshire put a five-spot on the board, they had many opportunities to add to the lead. But the Wildcats were comfortable with their lead, depending entirely upon Boyer and Stamp.
Yale, by contrast, thrilled the crowd of 50 at Johnson Field with a dazzling passing game and great stick control.
Henn, a rookie who earned her first collegiate assist over the weekend, stood out. Because of her ability to hustle down the line and pressure the Wildcat defense, she was involved in every Eli attack. But that attack was not sufficent to pull out a victory Wednesday.
The Eli offense will need to improve its finishing Saturday, when Yale goes searching for its first Ivy League win at Cornell.
“We need someone with a nose for the goal and quickly,” coach Lamb said.