The field hockey team defeated the University of Pennsylvania Quakers 2-1 Saturday at Johnson Field to claim its second consecutive ECAC title. Yale is the first team to ever hold the title in back-to-back tournaments.
“Winning ECAC’s was a tremendous experience,” forward Buffy Topp ’05 said. “It is always harder to win the second championship, and that made our victory on Saturday so much sweeter. We rewrote the history books, and for this team that is a great accomplishment.”
The Bulldogs controlled the tempo of the game for the entirety of the match, keeping the ball on Penn’s side of the field and forcing the Quakers to play on their heels. In the first half, the Elis beat the Quakers in shots, 5-3. Penn got on the board first, however, when junior All-Ivy forward Liz Lorelli scored unassisted on a deflected shot with 13:54 minutes to go in the first half. The goal marked Lorelli’s 20th of the year — the most of any Ivy Leaguer.
Yale quickly rebounded, however, when Lindsay Collins ’07 stroked a bullet to forward Stephanie Dolmat-Connell ’04, who punched a quick shot past Quaker netminder Liz Schlossberg to tie up the game less than four minutes later. From that point on, the Eli defense shut down the Quakers, keeping the ball out of scoring territory and away from Lorelli.
The two saves Krissy Nesburg ’04 made came in the first half, as Penn’s offense was unable to create any viable attacks in the second period of play. Yale penetrated Penn’s circle time and time again, generating a barrage of penalty corners. The Bulldog forwards kept Schlossberg busy with 12 second-half shots, while the Penn forwards only mustered a meager three shots. Though the Quakers edged the Bulldogs in the corner battle 3-2 in the first half, the Elis countered with six in the second half to Penn’s two.
Topp came up big for the Bulldogs in the final minutes of the game with an unassisted goal at 66:38 to give Yale the lead. Penn was unable to recover, and the rest was history.
The Bulldogs agreed that the combined defensive play of their backfield was remarkable and crucial to turning out the much-coveted victory for Yale.
“Brooke [Worthington ’04], Marly [Gillece ’06] and Moe [Braunn ’04] constantly shut down the Penn forwards,” sweeper Meredith Hudson ’05 said. “Their play on defense was crucial to our win.”
Unanimous first team All-Ivy selection Jana Halfon ’04, who earned the honor through her domination at midfield this season, earned the Most Valuable Player award for her efforts in Saturday’s contest after contributing to many offensive drives and setting up scoring opportunities for her teammates throughout the game.
“I could not think of a more deserving player to win the ECAC MVP than Jana Halfon,” Topp said. “She has played awesome for us all season and once again showed her dominance on the field on Saturday.”
For the second year in a row, Yale has finished the season with a win. Hudson said this is an honor shared by only one other team in the country — the NCAA winner.
“I think it is phenomenal that we’ve been able to maintain our program at such a high level,” Yale head coach Ainslee Lamb said. “This is a testament to everyone’s hard work.”
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