The field hockey team is not mad — but it is seeing red.
The Bulldogs (5-5, 1-2 Ivy) head to Boston this weekend to face No. 17 Harvard (7-4, 3-0 Ivy) Saturday and Boston University (7-5) Sunday. The weekend marks some of the toughest competition that the Elis have faced all season, but the Bulldogs feel that two victories are well within reach.
“They’re certainly going to be two tough games for us, but right now we’re trying to take them separately and look at what we do well,” captain and midfielder Chrissy Hall ’05 said. “As long as we can capitalize on our opportunities, we’ll give them a run for their money.”
With last weekend’s overtime victory over Dartmouth, the field hockey team got its first Ivy League victory of the season and reached .500 for the first time in over a month. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 12-3 in their last three contests, all Yale victories.
With Princeton’s struggles this season, the Crimson have emerged as the dominant Ivy League team of 2004. Harvard has posted impressive statistics this season, outscoring opponents 31-18 and outshooting them 177-99.
Three of Harvard’s four losses have come against ranked teams: No. 10 Michigan, No. 9 Northeastern and No. 6 University of Connecticut. The Crimson’s fourth loss came against the University of Maine, which was ranked at the time and received 22 votes in the latest NFHCA poll.
Harvard is led by senior midfielder Shelley Maasdorp. In 2003, Maasdorp was a third team All-American and first team All-Ivy selection. She was third on the 2003 Harvard squad with 19 points, a total she has already eclipsed after only 11 games this season. She leads the Crimson in both goals, with nine, and points, with 21.
Other notable members of the Crimson include junior midfielder Jen McDavitt, the 2002 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and an Ivy League Player of the Week selection earlier this season after helping Harvard get off to a 3-0 start in 2004. Senior goalkeeper Aliaa Remtilla is also having an impressive season, with one shutout, 39 saves and a 1.71 goals-against average.
The Bulldogs are aware that not only is Harvard a strong squad, but that Saturday’s game is extremely important in the course of the Elis’ season.
“If we lose this game, we’re out of the Ivy title race,” goalie Elizabeth Friedlander ’07 said. “But if we win and [Harvard] loses another, we’re back in it. This game is huge.”
Boston University has not dominated opponents the way Harvard has this season. The Terriers have outscored opponents only 26-21 and have been outshot 162-164.
But several of BU’s losses have come at the hands of strong opponents by extremely small margins. The Terriers lost 4-3 to No. 6 UConn, 1-0 to No. 12 Boston College and 3-2 in two overtimes to No. 14 University of California-Berkeley.
The weekly NFHCA poll only ranks the top 20 teams in the nation. BU garnered the most votes by an unranked team this week, with 28, and would have been ranked No. 21.
The Bulldogs know that they will be tired after Saturday’s match-up against the Crimson, but feel that their training has been for situations like this weekend.
“We’ll be physically tired, but this is what we trained for all summer,” Hall said. “It will be tough to get through, but the team’s pretty fit.”
Yale will be aided this weekend by the return of one its two injured starters, midfielder Lindsay Collins ’07. Against Cornell Sept. 25, Collins shattered the knuckle of her left index finger. The injury was supposed to take at least another week from now to heal.
“I’m really excited to get to play,” Collins said. “After all, it’s Harvard.”
The Bulldogs have not looked at the two teams specifically yet, but feel that their strategy will be the same in both match-ups, adhering to the style of play that has worked all season.
“Practice has been great this week, maybe the best all year,” Hall said. “Everyone’s been bringing their ‘A’ game and we’re feeling good. Hopefully that’ll translate to wins this weekend.”