It was the last goal that told the whole story.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Princeton’s All-American captain Natalie Martirosian weaved through the Yale defense before passing the ball off to Lauren Erlichman, who poked a shot just to the left of a diving Kate Crandall ’06 in goal. As the ball slowly rolled in, Yale captain midfielder Chrissy Hall ’05 threw her stick at it in desperation, then collapsed to the turf as the ball crossed the line for Princeton’s sixth goal of the afternoon.
“[The Tigers are] the defending Ivy champions and they were vulnerable,” Hall said. “We had the opportunity to show what we’ve got. We weren’t intimidated, but we didn’t perform.”
Saturday at Johnson Field, the Yale field hockey team (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) suffered the worst loss of its season thus far, falling to the Princeton Tigers (1-2, 1-0) by a final score of 6-0. The six-goal deficit is the worst defeat the Bulldogs have suffered since Sept. 15, 2002, when the Tigers blanked the Elis 7-0.
The game began evenly, with each team seeing some time on the other’s half of the field. But after the first 10 minutes, the Tigers established a trend that would continue throughout the game: offensive pressure, good passing and a penetrating attack that would eventually draw 11 penalty corners.
Princeton found its way onto the scoreboard on its second short corner opportunity, with 20:44 remaining in the half. The Tigers’ Lizzie Black received the corner and paused, drawing the Elis towards her before quickly passing to Kelly Darling at the right post for an easy redirection.
The Tigers would score on one more penalty corner in the first half, sending the Bulldogs back to their bench with a 2-0 deficit.
Despite being outshot 10-2 in the first half and drawing no penalty corner opportunities, the Elis had several memorable plays. Most notably, midfielder Lindsay Collins ’07 created several fast-break opportunities in the middle of the first half, taking one shot herself and twice taking the ball up the left side before crossing it to teammates near the Princeton goal.
“In the first half, I completely thought we played with them,” Collins said. “We had our opportunities and so did they. I thought going into the second half that if we played the same way, we would have time and the opportunities would present themselves.”
Yale came out reenergized, but the Tigers’ dominant offense returned as well. On the second Princeton penalty corner of the half, with 22:59 remaining, Natalie Martirosian found Hillary Schmidt at the left goalpost for the Tigers’ third goal.
The rest of the half saw no real opportunities develop for the Bulldogs, and the Princeton pressure was unrelenting. The Tigers added three more tallies, all from Erlichman. The first one resulted from a redirected Maren Ford pass with 21:50 remaining. The second came unassisted off of a rebound with 15:39 remaining and the third goal — Princeton’s last of the match — slipped past Crandall and Hall with 10:00 remaining.
The only real Eli threat of the second half came with 8:30 left to play, when the Bulldogs drew their only penalty corner of the game. Defender Meredith Hudson ’05 received the pass and leveled a rocket at the middle-right of the net, but Princeton goalkeeper Juliana Simon was there with the kick-save.
Hudson took Yale’s only on-goal shot of the game.
Despite the sound defeat, Yale’s starting goalie Crandall — in only her third collegiate start — set a career record for saves with 17 on the day. But Crandall said the achievement was diminished in the greater picture of the Yale loss.
“The way I feel, my team is the most important thing,” Crandall said. “If one person does well, it doesn’t make a difference. Six goals went in, four in the second half. That’s unacceptable; I don’t want it to happen again.”
Crandall is a staff reporter for the Yale Daily News.
Several Bulldogs said one fault in the team’s performance was the large number of mental errors, evinced by the 11 penalty corners allowed and consistent Eli passing mistakes.
“Had we stayed in it mentally, it would have been a very good game,” midfielder Grace Morris ’06 said. “But we let the 3-0 lead get to us.”
Yale head coach Ainslee Lamb said a major problem was a lack of total team performance.
“To beat a team like Princeton, the entire team must be at its best,” Lamb said. “Some people played their best, but not enough.”
Princeton players were particularly pleased with the victory, their first so far in a frustrating season. Before Saturday, the Tigers had only scored one goal, despite controlling game play.
“We’ve been playing good hockey, and it’s hard to play well and not be winning,” Princeton head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn said. “Today was good because we got production out of the offense.”
Yale has a chance at redemption Friday against American University, when the Elis begin their two-game D.C. road-trip.
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