The field hockey team went to Ithaca this Saturday and dominated play against a weaker Cornell team, taking more than twice as many shots and penalty corners as their opponents.
But the Elis could not find the net.
“It’s frustrating when you play a game so well, and all of the little pieces come together just right, but then you get to the circle and can’t put the ball in the net,” forward Katie Rivkin ’06 said.
Saturday, the Elis (2-4, 0-2 Ivy) dropped its second Ivy decision of the year, a 2-1 nail-biter to Cornell (2-4, 1-2).
The first half showed relatively little offensive activity from both teams. The two squads took only six total shots — four for Yale and two for Cornell — and none counted for scores. In fact, Eli netminder Kate Crandall ’06 did not have to make a single save during the first half.
The Bulldogs felt that their first half performance was very strong.
“We played really well in the first half — probably the best game of hockey we’ve played,” defender Heather Orrico ’07 said. “Our defense was strong, and our passing through the midfield and forward lines was really good.”
The Elis continued to dominate play in the second half, outpacing the Big Red in shots — 11 to four — and penalty corners — four to one. But it was Cornell who managed to find the net.
The first goal was scored only 2:18 into the second half, when Cornell senior forward Danielle Dunn took a pass on the right side and blasted a shot into the boards from about 15 yards out.
Slightly over 15 minutes later, Dunn took a ball at the top of the circle and knocked it just inside the right post.
The game marked Dunn’s first career multi-goal outing, bringing her season goal total up to five.
Despite trailing, the Bulldogs had nearly 20 minutes left to play, and they dominated the Big Red during the end of the game, staying in the Cornell end for the majority of the game’s concluding minutes.
The pressure finally paid off when, with 4:15 left to play, midfielder Harriet Thayer ’08 notched her first collegiate goal, a redirection of an Eli pass from five yards in front of the left goalpost.
One minute later, the Elis pulled Crandall from the goal to put an extra player on the field — midfielder Catherine Lindroth ’08. The Bulldogs kept the pressure on, but failed to knot the score in the closing minutes.
Several Elis expressed their frustration at the inability to score as the match wrapped up, but were happy with the style and level of play that the team showed in the closing minutes of the game.
“It was kind of frustrating when we didn’t score, but we didn’t let up, especially when Harriet [Thayer] scored with a few minutes left,” Rivkin said. “The whole team went all out after that. If we can learn to play with that mentality for 70 minutes, then maybe we can start to win these games that we dominate.”
A big factor in keeping the Elis off of the scoreboard was the work of Big Red senior goaltender Lori Blutinger. Blutinger posted nine saves, six of which came during Yale’s big second-half offensive push.
However, several team members said that they faulted themselves for the lack of Yale goals, not Blutinger’s work in goal.
“The Cornell goalie played well,” midfielder Grace Morris ’06 said. “I was impressed with how many corners she stopped. But we didn’t pressure her that much — no pressure on her pads, not many rebounds.”
The Bulldogs’ inability to score despite dominating play has been a concern all season, and the Elis feel that the problem must be remedied immediately if they are to win games.
“Working on goal scoring is our number one priority right now,” Orrico said. “We have everything down up to the offensive circle, but we need to work on putting it all together.”
Yale next faces No. 6 UConn in Storrs on Wednesday before returning home to play the University of Rhode Island on Saturday.