The field hockey team lost in a nail-biter 5-4 at Princeton (3-0) Saturday, after an extremely competitive game against a school that has dominated Ivy League field hockey for the past two decades. Princeton now has beaten Yale 19 straight times.
The Bulldogs (1-2) came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the Tigers 4-4 with 1:41 left in regulation play, only to lose 4:12 into overtime after a goal by Princeton’s Natalie Martirosian.
The Tigers held Yale scoreless for the first half of the game and held a 3-0 lead 5:55 into the second half after a goal by Martirosian. Yale goalkeeper Krissy Nesburg ’04, who made seven saves in the game, said that while the Tigers — who have won 60 of their last 61 Ivy games — were a formidable opponent, the Bulldogs were never intimidated and never felt incapable of coming back.
“In field hockey, goals can be scored so quickly; it depends how the team is playing that day,” Nesburg said.
The Bulldog comeback began when midfielder Meredith Hudson ’05 scored Yale’s first goal with just over 19 minutes remaining in regulation play. Neither team scored again until five minutes remained in regulation, when Bulldog rookie midfielder Trish Bissett ’07 brought the ball upfield to sink her first career goal for Yale.
Yale’s hopes of a comeback weakened slightly after Princeton’s Lizzie Black hit a penalty corner, increasing the Tigers’ lead to 4-2. But the frenzied Bulldogs kept their focus and captain Fran Gardner ’04 and Hudson scored one more goal each, tying the Tigers at the end of the second period. Head coach Ainslee Lamb said she was proud of the way Yale rallied in the face of this adversity.
“[Princeton’s] fourth goal could have been the turning point, but [Yale] absolutely refused to lose,” Lamb said.
Lamb also said Hudson’s two goals were a significant factor in Yale’s rebound, and a tribute to the effort Hudson has devoted to practicing her penalty shots.
“Meredith Hudson has been working really hard on her penalty corners, and it just wasn’t working; this was a really great time for them to come together,” Lamb said.
Overtime saw a battle for control of the ball, with one attempt by Yale’s Bissett early in the period that went wide right. Princeton reclaimed possession and eventually Martirosian scored to salvage the victory.
“Yale definitely could have won the game,” Nesburg said. “It was not Princeton’s game by any means; that is the most disappointing thing for all of us. We had the intensity and excitement, whereas Princeton did not.”
But Yale team members agreed that the game was a significant improvement in performance over last week’s 3-2 overtime loss to Sacred Heart University and a narrow 1-0 win over the University of Rhode Island. Nesburg said the Bulldogs were a completely different team Saturday than in the previous two games.
“We basically took several giant leaps forward in intensity and drive yesterday,” Nesburg said. “We are definitely going to have a chance at the Ivy championship this year.”
As the Bulldogs look forward to away games Friday at the University of New Hampshire and Sunday at Boston University, Lamb said the Elis will need to bring the enthusiasm and desire that marked Saturday’s close call.
“We have to work really hard on what we can control, which is our own game,” she said.