This weekend the field hockey team showed its tenacity in the countdown to the end of regular season play.
The Bulldogs (8-6, 3-2 Ivy) defeated the University of Pennsylvania Quakers (9-5, 3-2) in a grueling 2-1 contest Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. The Eli victory terminated the Quakers’ seven-game winning streak and sent the two teams to a three-way tie for 3rd with Brown (9-5, 3-2) in the Ancient Eight.
“It’s phenomenal that we were able to come to Penn and end their seven-game winning streak,” Yale head coach Ainslee Lamb said. “We continue to take the steps we need to reach our goals.”
The Elis clinched the victory when midfielder Jana Halfon ’04 punched a shot into Penn’s cage past Quaker netminder Elizabeth Schlossberg with just over three minutes remaining in the game to put the Bulldogs up 2-1.
The first half was a midfield battle, as both teams came out strong for the ball. Sarah Driscoll ’05 and Halfon were crucial in keeping the ball out of Bulldog territory.
“Sarah and Jana dominated the midfield in the first half,” midfielder Grace Morris ’06 said. “They really helped set the tone for the game.”
Solid defense on both sides of the field kept the first half scoreless. Each team managed only three shots a piece in the first half. The Quakers edged the Elis in penalty corners 3-0, but the core of Yale’s defense rejected any Penn attempts on goal. Goalkeeper Spike Nesburg ’04 recorded no saves in the first half, while Schlossberg tallied two saves.
After their halftime respite, the Elis came out gunning on offense. Captain Francesca Gardner ’04 and the other Bulldog forwards dominated play early in the second half by keeping the ball in the circle to generate the offense.
“Fran was all over every ball, constantly working to get it in our offensive end,” Heather Orrico ’07 said.
This strategy set up a barrage of corners by the Bulldogs. Yale’s first goal came off of an assist from Chrissy Hall ’05 to Gardner, who slid a shot into the back of the cage.
“We knew after we scored that Penn was not just going to lay down and give us the win,” Morris said. “We knew we needed to stay aggressive and score again.”
The Quakers did not crumble under the Bulldog pressure. After a Penn time-out, Quaker midfielder Kristen Gray scored at 65:55 off of an assist on a penalty corner from fellow midfielder Sarah Shelley to tie up the game at one apiece.
Within 30 seconds, the Bulldogs answered with a score of their own from Halfon to seal the win.
In the course of the second half, the Bulldogs quadrupled the number of shots they had at halftime to finish with 12, while allowing only three Quaker attempts. After failing to earn a single penalty corner in the first half, Yale’s offense racked up eight in the second half, only giving up two to Penn in the meantime.
The defensive standout for the Bulldogs was rookie Emily Palilonis ’07, who blanked junior forward Liz Lorelli, Penn’s number-one threat and the leading Ivy League scorer. Palilonis only allowed Lorelli one shot on goal throughout the match.
“Emily just shutdown Lorelli,” Orrico said. “Overall, she just played amazing defense.”
With two consecutive wins under their belts, the Bulldogs are headed into their next Ivy League matchup against Columbia this Friday in New York with an air of confidence.
“We were really excited to win against Penn,” Orrico said. “We are looking to winning our third straight game on Friday.”
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