Pride may be a deadly sin. But in its last game of the season, it may be all the field hockey team has left to fight for.
“At this point, it’s all about playing for pride,” captain Chrissy Hall ’05 said. “It’s our last game and we’ve lost our last two. We want to end our season on a good note. We know it’s the end so we’re going to leave it all out on the field.
The Elis (6-10, 1-5 Ivy) face Brown (5-10, 1-5 Ivy) Saturday in their 2004 season finale. Last weekend’s losses eliminated the Bulldogs from postseason contention, but a win this weekend and a Cornell loss would allow the Bulldogs to vacate their current position at the bottom of the Ivy League standings.
Brown has not put up exceptional numbers this season. Opponents have outscored and outshot the Bears this fall, 42-26 and 262-213, respectively. Brown has also taken less penalty corners than their foes this season, 120-104.
Much like the Elis, the Bears had a distinctly more successful 2003 campaign. Last year, the Brown squad went 11-6 with a 4-3 Ivy record. Only two teams defeated the Bears by more than two goals, Northeastern and Boston College — both ranked teams in 2004.
This fall, Brown has lost five games by more than two goals. Against the two ranked teams they faced this season — No. 20 Harvard and No. 11 Boston College — the Bears lost by a total of nine goals.
A possible reason for Brown’s troubles this season is the graduation of the strong class of 2003. Midfielder Elizabeth Buza was a first-team All-Ivy selection last year after posting 20 points on seven goals and six assists. Classmates Meaghan Harwood and Laurel Pierpont were second-team All-Ivy selections.
But the Bears have played well in their last several games. Brown has outshot its opponents 32-28 in its last three contests, including its most recent win, a 2-1 victory over Cornell Oct. 23. The Big Red defeated the Elis by the same score Sept. 25.
Brown also boasts a core of strong players. Junior defender Kristen Vincent leads the team in goals and points with six and 15, respectively. In goal, freshman Kristen Hodavance has had an excellent rookie season, posting 117 saves and a .780 save average in 13 games this fall.
“Any Ivy League game is always a good game,” Hall said. “Especially Brown — we’ve gone into OT with them a few times in the last few years. It’s going to be a hard game, but we’ve worked hard all week and we’re going to come out and play.”
A comparison of the two squads’ most recent games gives the sense that the Elis may have the momentum coming into this weekend’s match-up. Last Sunday, Yale played with No. 11 BC for the entire 70 minutes, taking the same number of shots as the Eagles despite losing 2-0.
“We always like to win, but it was good to play the No. 11 team in the country and stay with them,” defender Emily Palilonis ’07 said. “It’s really good to have the confidence that comes with playing at that level.”
In contrast, Brown’s last game was a disappointing 2-1 loss to Holy Cross Tuesday. The Bears outshot the Crusaders 14-4, but could not get past goalie Sony Kuhn until it was too late — the sole Brown goal came with less than 10 minutes to play.
Saturday’s match-up marks the final contest for the members of the class of 2005. But the Eli seniors said that they are going to treat the game like any other.
“I won’t be playing differently just because it’s my last game,” forward Buffy Topp ’05 said. “I’m going to go out, play my hardest, put my heart and soul in it like always. But obviously to finish four years with a win would be a great accomplishment and this team has a chance to do it for sure.”