Though at a tournament in Wisconsin, the men’s hockey team rang in the new year the same way as many other Yalies – they had a wild night New Years’ Eve and a wicked hangover the next day.
Indeed, the Bulldogs put in perhaps their finest performance of the season Friday night in a 1-1 tie with fourth-ranked Wisconsin, just as they showed their physical and emotional exhaustion the following day in an 8-1 loss to Clarkson.
Against host Wisconsin in the first round of the annual Badger Hockey Showdown, the Elis (1-12-1, 1-9-0 ECAC) caught their opponents off guard with dogged defensive effort and deft puck control largely unseen in their 12 previous games. Taking only six penalties through 60 minutes of regulation and five more of overtime, the disciplined Yale defense was able to contain and limit the power play chances of a very potent Badger offense that features eight forwards who have been drafted by the NHL. Matt Modelski ’07 did the rest.
The Yale netminder was unbeatable for most of the game, making 26 saves and surrendering his only goal on a partial tip from the right face-off dot. Modelski also made a couple of sparkling saves on Wisconsin star Robbie Earl in Yale’s eventual loss in the shootout, which was used to determine who would advance in the tournament (the game counts as a tie in the teams’ records).
Yale got its regulation goal from forward Joe Zappala ’06 (center Brad Mills ’07 and defenseman Matt Cohen ’07 assisted) and Mills and winger Christian Jensen ’06 scored for Yale in the shootout.
The women’s hockey team (9-7, 7-2 ECAC) dropped its first two games of 2005 to Maine (9-5-2) Jan. 1 and to No. 6 New Hampshire (13-3-1) Jan. 2.
The Elis skated their way to an early 3-1 lead over the Black Bears, but were unable to hold on as Maine rallied its offense and went on a 4-0 run during the second and third periods. The Bulldogs, led by forward Jenna Spring ’07 (2 goals), dropped the match 5-4.
The Bulldogs then traveled to New Hampshire, and suffered their fourth consecutive loss at the hands of an exceptionally tough Wildcats team which boasts the most effective penalty kill in the nation (.948), a stellar goaltender in sophomore Melissa Bourdon (.910 save percentage, 1.96 goals against average) and a dynamic offensive attack that features three players with over twenty points on the season.
Eli goalkeeper Sarah Love ’06 made 27 saves and forward Deena Caplette ’06 scored Yale’s only goal in the 3-1 loss.
Yale captain Erin Duggan ’05 said that Yale has been using its winter break to tackle some problem areas.
“This week in practice we’ve been focusing on moving without the puck and on support, as well as our D-zone coverage,” she said. “We’ve also been spending a lot of time on the new power play we’re working on.”
For the men’s basketball team this winter break, overtime play has been both a treat and a terror.
The Elis (3-7) concluded 2004 with their first victory in their last five games, and their first overtime win in three OT contests this season. The Bulldogs edged Santa Clara, 90-84, in overtime in the consolation game of the Cable Car Classic in Piedmont, Calif., Dec. 30. The win marked the end of a four game skid that began with an OT loss to Bucknell 73-65 Dec. 4.
“We really needed a win,” Yale head coach James Jones said on the Yale athletics Web site. “A lot of guys stepped up and contributed and that makes it extra special.”
A day earlier, the Elis dropped a close contest in their first round meeting with UNC-Charlotte 80-74.
The Bulldogs began their vacation schedule with a gut-wrenching double overtime loss to then undefeated Boston College 82-80 in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Dec. 19.
“My kids played their tails off,” Jones said on the athletics website. “This is the best game we’ve played in three years. If we can play with that kind of effort and desire, we have a chance to win a lot of games.”
The Elis play their first game of 2005 at home tomorrow against Fairfield. It will be just the second home game for the Bulldogs this season, but it begins a stretch of four straight contests in John J. Lee Amphitheater, concluding with the team’s Ivy opener against Brown Jan. 22.
It is safe to say that the Yale women’s basketball team is not having its best season this year.
Overall, it has been the overpowering opponents and countless team turnovers that have contributed to a slew of losses for the Bulldogs (1-9).
The Elis were simply overmatched against nationally-ranked teams like Ohio State and Alabama. Against Sacred Heart, Syracuse, and Morgan State University (Yale’s only win of the season), the Bulldogs averaged 31.3 turnovers per game.
As of now, the Elis have a lot of work to do if they want to stay competitive in the Ivy League this season.
The road ahead will be difficult, especially when Yale squares off against Brown (6-3) in the Ivy opener January 15 and against the University of Pennsylvania (4-6) January 28, who are both projected to place higher than the Elis in the conference.
So far over the break Yale has fallen short in three hard-fought games. The first took place Dec. 30 at the Christmas City Classic Tournament in Bethlehem, Pa. where Lehigh narrowly edged the Bulldogs 70-66. In the consolation match the following night, Alabama escaped with a 78-60 win over the Elis. Finally, last Sunday in Bridgeport, Conn., Yale dropped another close game against Fairfield.
Still, many of the Bulldogs have shown improvement throughout the season. While center Erica Davis ’07 is still the team’s dominant scoring threat, guard Tory Mauseth ’05 has shown what skills she has behind the arc, sinking six three-pointers against Alabama at the Christmas City Classic.
The offensive talent of forward Chinenye Okafor ’07 earned her all-tournament honors in the Christmas City Classic as well. Lastly, rookie point guard Stephanie Marciano ’08 has helped the team out with timely assists.
Despite the unquestionable potential that the players have, it is a question of whether the team can put it all together and start racking up some wins.
Some of the most pleasant parts of winter break are the 23-day hiatus from schoolwork and the absence of having to make harsh scheduling decisions such as returning to school one day after New Year’s.
The Yale men’s squash team has enjoyed no such luxuries. Players returned to New Haven Jan. 2 following two weeks of individual exercise regimens at home.
The Bulldogs will practice two times a day in New Haven until Jan. 6, when they head to New York City for a “tune-up” tournament before returning to Yale Jan. 9.
After defeating No. 4 Penn to start the year, the nationally-ranked No. 3 Elis are looking to maintain their momentum after the long break.
The goal is to defeat Harvard and win the Ivy League Championship, and perhaps something even more prestigious.
“[We’re] gearing up for a run at the National Championship,” head coach Dave Talbott said.
The Elis’ first match of 2005 is Jan. 14 against Williams in Williamstown, Mass.
-Staff reporters Alex Goldberger, Ryan Hartnett, Marcus McLin, Jess Notebaert and Zack O’Malley Greenburg contributed to this report.