After allowing nine goals in their opening weekend, the Bulldogs will look to rebound when they host Cornell and Colgate, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at Ingalls Rink.
“We’ve been working really hard this week and we have a chance to show that,” defenseman Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 said. “This is a huge weekend for us.”
Defensive lapses and turnovers hurt the Bulldogs (0-2) in last week’s losses to Wayne State and Findlay. Cornell and Colgate will provide some serious competition for Yale. Last year, the Bulldogs fell to Cornell 4-1 but edged Colgate in overtime, 4-3.
“We didn’t stick to the defensive zone coverage like we were supposed to and made some turnovers,” said Porcaro, who led all defensemen in goals last year. “It builds up. When we don’t get the puck out of the zone, we get out of position and get ourselves into trouble.”
But the Bulldogs are still adjusting to their new coaching staff. First-year head coach Hilary Witt has placed a priority on team defense. With such a defensive mindset, Porcaro knows that the team cannot afford to give up four or five goals a game.
“Mentally and physically we have to know our positions,” Porcaro said. “We’ve got to play solid ‘D.'”
The Bulldogs begin their Ivy League campaign Saturday against the Big Red. Though Witt considers a championship too presumptuous, she hopes to finish in the top half of conference standings.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that we are going to win an Ivy League Championship,” Witt said. “Not this year. But we want to be at least .500 and be in the top half.”
The Bulldogs were picked to finish eighth in the preseason ECAC polls.
“[Cornell and Colgate] are both strong teams,” Porcaro said. “They have new coaches, so we don’t know what to expect. But we’re not focused on the other teams, just our own systems.”
Despite the challenge that lies ahead this weekend, Porcaro believes the Elis will have no problem holding their own against their Ivy League counterparts.
“We are going to have to two competitive games,” Porcaro said. “We’re confident that we’ll have a great weekend.”