Yale and the University of Connecticut went in different directions Wednesday night.
Hoping to end its season-long slump, the Yale field hockey team (2-5, 0-3 Ivy) took the field at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Conn. But instead of turning their season around, the Bulldogs suffered their third shutout loss, 5-0.
“The score pretty much speaks for itself,” sweeper Meredith Hudson ’05 said.
The Huskies (6-5), who had a string of four losses in early September, entered the contest riding a four-game winning streak, including wins over Harvard and Brown. Yale could not slow Connecticut’s momentum, as the Huskies outshot the Bulldogs 20-3.
A crowd of 450 — the largest the Bulldogs have played before this season — watched as the University of Connecticut scored early. Ten minutes into the game, forward Lauren Henderson stroked a penalty corner shot past Eli goalie Krissy Nesburg ’04 to put Connecticut ahead, 1-0.
And the Huskies never looked back. Forward Mary Jo Malone added an unassisted tally at 25:10 to close out the scoring in the first half.
In the second half, Connecticut ran up the score, notching three goals in five and a half minutes. Henderson and Malone each earned three points in the game, each contributing an assist during the offensive outburst.
Connecticut’s stingy defense rarely allowed Yale to advance past midfield, and the few times the Bulldogs found themselves in the striking circle they were unable to sustain an attack.
The Huskies’ unrelenting offense was too much even for Nesburg, who is a member of the Under-23 U.S. National Team. The Bulldog goalie is second in the Ivy League in both saves per game and total saves. Meanwhile, her Husky counterpart Maureen Butler never broke a sweat, rejecting two shots en route to her second shutout this fall.
The disparity between the intrastate rivals could not have been more severe.
This season, the Eli roster has combined for five goals and 14 points while Henderson, the Husky phenom from Zimbabwe, has scored twice as many times and recorded 23 points. Connecticut was within two goals on all five of its losses, whereas Yale only has one close defeat, a 2-1 loss to Cornell on Sept. 28.
“In order to get out of this slump we are in, we need to get back to the basics, like connecting on passes and increasing our shots so that we have more chances of scoring,” Hudson said.
Hudson, fifth in the league for shots per game, accounted for two-thirds of Yale’s shots on Wednesday. But that amounted to just two shots.
“Right now, we are getting maybe 4-5 shots per game, and we just can’t expect to capitalize on such small percentages,” she said.
The Bulldogs hope to break from their mire on Saturday when they host Boston University (4-5) for a 1 p.m. game at Johnson Field.