Even a skidding Princeton team was too much for the Bulldogs.
Yale (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) fell to Princeton (1-2, 1-0), 5-1, Saturday in New Jersey. The Bulldogs struggled in stretches, but played well in others, especially in the first half when they held the Tigers to a single goal.
“I was really proud of the team and the kids, attempting to get us on the scoreboard,” Yale head coach Pam Stuper said. “There were some disappointments with us not sticking to the game plan and with us not playing as well as we could, but I think there were some shades of brilliance.”
The Tigers entered the game winless this fall but got a strong performance from their offense, led by forward Lauren Ehrlichman, who scored three of their five goals. The first came off a cross pass less than eight minutes into the game. Yale goalkeeper Elizabeth Friedlander ’07 saved the first shot but could not stop the rebound.
The Bulldogs were able to hold the Tigers scoreless for the rest of the half and went into halftime trailing, 1-0.
Ehrlichman scored her second goal of the game in the 50th minute.
Then, in a five minute span, Princeton scored three times to put the game out of reach. Ehrlichman redirected a long pass into the goal for the hat trick at 62:05. Forward Sarah Yuki added two more goals, scoring at 66:17 and again just 58 seconds later.
“I don’t think we had the best defensive game we could play,” Stuper said. “There was a period of five minutes where Princeton scored three goals on us, which is unacceptable. We’re playing back on our heels. They’re on our end more often than not, and we’re giving up a lot of opportunities.”
Yale finally got on the board with no time left in the game after a Princeton player knocked down the ball with her hand. Emily Palilonis ’07 converted the penalty stroke, spoiling the Tigers’ shutout.
“It was very important for Emily to score that goal. It showed that we didn’t give up,” forward Rachel Lentz ’07 said. “It also says something about Emily that she was able to score that under that much pressure.”
Overall, Princeton outshot Yale 23-9 in the game.
Last year, Yale also struggled with Princeton, losing 6-0 in New Haven.
“This is my ninth season here, and every year we go out to play Princeton and there’s this enigma,” Stuper said. “Sometimes we play on our heels and sometimes we sit back, and I’m not sure why.”
The coach and players made it clear that the game’s location does not affect their play.
“I try to approach every game with them as just another game, home or away,” Stuper said. “I don’t emphasize it at all, I don’t discuss it. It’s just another game to me.”
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs remain optimistic.
“I think we had some lulls, but we did our best to pick ourselves out of it,” defender Beth Raveche ’08 said. “By the end, we gave it a last effort and we really wanted to show Princeton that they couldn’t shut us out.”
Stuper did not blame the loss on a lack of preparation.
“I thought the team was very prepared to play them,” Stuper said. “I think when we got out there, we didn’t stick to our game plan, which was disappointing. We were prepared for it, we just didn’t do it.”
“I think we were definitely prepared to play them,” said Raveche, who added that the season is just underway. “It’s only our third game, and I don’t want people to think that just because we lost our first Ivy game that our season is over. We still have plenty more to go.”
The Bulldogs face William and Mary on Friday before taking on VCU on Sunday.