Last weekend, the field hockey team came in looking to take advantage of a struggling team on a losing streak. That team, Princeton, took its frustration and turned it on the Elis, coming up with a dominating win.
Now it’s Yale’s turn to turn the tables.
“We had a great week of practice, and we’re going to come out hard,” captain Chrissy Hall ’05 said. “Hopefully we’ll come out with two wins.”
This weekend, the Elis take a D.C. road trip, facing off against No. 13 American University on Friday and Georgetown University on Sunday. The Bulldogs (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) said they believe they can take last Saturday’s 6-0 loss to Princeton at Johnson Field and use it to their advantage.
“We’re in a good position,” forward Meredith Howell ’05 said. “If we had to have a game like we had against Princeton, it’s good to have it early, so we can move on and work on what we need to work on. Our team chemistry is great and we’re ready to go out and prove that we’re a better team than we showed last weekend.”
The Elis have picked a tough game for their rebound match. American (4-2) is a perennially strong team, and this season appears to be no different. The Eagles have been dominant in their four wins, outscoring their opponents 18-3. Their two losses came against two top 10 teams, both undefeated — No. 6 University of Connecticut and No. 3 University of North Carolina.
American returns 19 letterwinners from last year’s 20-4 team — the best result in program history. The Eagles finished their 2003 season with a berth to the NCAA tournament and a No. 19 national ranking. Tuesday, when the first national poll results of the season were released, the Eagles were No. 13 — the highest ranking they have ever achieved in program history.
The Bulldogs are aware that American poses a daunting challenge, but team members said they have prepared well enough to stand a fighting chance.
“We’ve watched tape and seen how they set up,” Hall said. “They tend to stay wider, so we want to bring our backs in so we can split them down the middle. The main thing is to play to our strengths — two-touch passing, playing as a team. The combination of playing on our strengths and taking advantage of what we’ve seen should help us play well.”
The Hoyas (2-3) present a slightly less daunting opponent. Georgetown finished 5-12 last year and has not seen much offensive production in their first five games — the Hoyas have been outscored 6-8 so far this season.
Still, the Bulldogs are not taking anything for granted.
“We can’t take them lightly,” defender Heather Orrico ’07 said. “They’re not as strong, but any given day, they could show up, and we’ve got to be ready.”
Still out of commission for the Elis is midfielder Trish Bissett ’07. Bissett suffered a concussion in the game against Holy Cross Sept. 5 and has not yet been cleared by doctors to play. While her teammates said they will miss her presence on the field, they feel that the team has the talent to do well even without one of last year’s top scorers.
“Obviously we love it when she’s out there with us, but we’re a deep team and we’ve got plenty of good players to step in,” Howell said.
Starting in Bissett’s place on Friday is forward Katie Rivkin ’06. Also, in Bissett’s absence, the Bulldogs are going from four to three midfielders and adding a forward.
The Elis know that this weekend’s matchups are important, especially if they want to stay in contention to win the Ivy League and make the NCAA tournament. But the Bulldogs show few, if any, signs of pressure.
“Everyone’s feeling good,” Hall said. “We’re ready to win, coming off of the losses, and we would love two wins to go above 500. Everyone’s excited and ready to go.”
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