The field hockey team is struggling to regroup after a demoralizing 5-2 loss to No. 11 University of Connecticut (7-3) Wednesday at Johnson Field.
Citing weak team spirit and a lack of the work ethic that characterized previous games, the Bulldogs (3-5, 1-1 Ivy) will take this weekend off before tackling Quinnipiac (4-6) next Wednesday.
Despite two close penalty shots that bounced off the goalposts, Yale was scoreless for most of the game’s first half, as Connecticut’s Kelly Stolle first sunk one shot before Lauren Henderson scored two additional goals. The Bulldogs finally scored with just 41 seconds remaining in the half, giving Connecticut a 3-1 lead.
Yale head coach Ainslee Lamb said the whole game might have been different had the two missed corner shots succeeded.
“One of those momentum shifts would have occurred had UConn been down 2-0,” Lamb said. “They came in under-estimating our program.”
But Yale could not gain any momentum as the second half began. Captain Fran Gardner ’04 said the team was tired after a day of classes and had trouble coordinating their offense.
“We need to keep things together, especially when we are tired — we get sloppy,” Gardner said.
Neither team scored again until less than 15 minutes remained in the game, when Connecticut’s Becky Helwig slipped another shot past Yale. Bulldog midfielder Jana Halfon ’04 brought Yale’s score up to half of Connecticut’s when she evaded Huskie goalkeeper Maureen Butler with 7:10 remaining in the game to make the score 4-2. But Halfon’s score was not enough to change the game’s momentum; Stolle clenched a Connecticut victory when she scored the game’s final goal with 5:35 remaining.
Lamb said the Bulldogs were fully capable of winning, but weren’t focused enough on playing as a team.
“When you’re playing Number 11 in the country, everybody’s got to show up,” Lamb said. “[The Bulldogs] weren’t mentally and physically read to play.”
Yale players have commented after past games on the energy and excitement that has characterized the Bulldog team. But Gardner said Wednesday’s effort was disappointing.
“We don’t have a single game on our schedule that isn’t winnable,” Gardner said. “Other teams aren’t that much better — we’re making them look better than they are.”
Lamb said Yale’s performance was not particularly disappointing, considering Connecticut’s national ranking.
“What’s exciting for our program is we’re competing against national programs,” Lamb said. “We just need to learn how to beat them.”
Next week’s game against Quinnipiac may be particularly challenging. Quinnipiac has taken previous match-ups very seriously, team members said. Yale beat Quinnipiac 3-2 last year.
“Quinnipiac is a team that treats every single game like it’s a national championship,” Gardner said. “They really treat [playing Yale] as a huge rivalry.”