Rain may have no effect on the turf of Johnson Field, but it certainly dampened the field hockey team’s Ivy League hopes this weekend.
The Big Green (5-6, 2-2 Ivy) hammered the Bulldogs (4-8, 0-3) on Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-1, turning a close battle into a laugher with a smattering of second-half goals. With their third straight conference loss, the Elis joined Columbia as joint residents of the Ivy League basement. Sunday’s matchup produced a vastly more satisfying result, with three goals from midfielder Lindsay Collins ’07 anchoring a Yale victory over non-league opponent University of New Hampshire (5-9).
Even in a season of frustrating defeats, team members said Saturday’s affair was still jarring.
“It is really frustrating to lose these Ivy matches, and Saturday, we can all agree we played our worst game of the season,” goalkeeper Kate Crandall ’06 said. “Dartmouth is always a big game for us, but we didn’t play them the way we have in the past.”
From the moment the Elis took the field in the battering rainstorm, the rhythm was off for the home team. The Big Green jumped on the board with two goals midway through the first half. Dartmouth’s Whitney Waugh tapped a shot past Yale’s Elizabeth Friedlander ’07 in the 13th minute, then Abby Brown followed suit at 26:12 to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
“Saturday we came out sleepy, and I think that had a lot to do with the weather,” midfielder Heather Orrico ’07 said. “Sometimes your team has an off day, where stick skills are weak, so instead of sticking to the game plan, you try to overcompensate.”
Forward Cat Lindroth ’08 cut the lead in half with a goal a few minutes before halftime, but any Eli hopes were stymied with an abrupt Dartmouth offensive midway through the second frame. After dominating the first 20 minutes of the second half, Waugh finally notched her second goal of the afternoon at 55:07 off a penalty corner. Three minutes later, the Big Green assumed a virtually insurmountable three-goal lead off of an unassisted Lindsay Gossage score.
Much of the frustration from Saturday’s loss involved the Elis’ inability to convert on penalty corners, an affliction that has dogged the squad the entire season. The Bulldogs converted none of their seven chances Saturday, continuing a dismal streak that began with an 0-for-6 performance against Boston University last weekend.
Crandall said the uphill battle was expected after the entire penalty unit from last year was lost to graduation.
“You have to remember that we lost our entire unit, and we really have been building that from scratch this year,” she said. “This season has been about adjusting and building roles, and it’s just a matter of time before the results show.”
Despite Saturday’s disappointing showing, the Elis managed to rebound in a big way Sunday. The Bulldogs achieved a season high with four goals on the Wildcats. The story of the day was the stellar performance of Collins, who doubled her career-goal total over a span of twenty minutes. Though she put three on the board — doing in one game what had taken her 42 before Sunday — none of her teammates seemed too surprised by the midfielder’s dazzling effort.
“It’s just not unusual for Lindsay Collins,” Crandall said. “She has been our phenomenon up and down left sideline; she burns anyone who wants to challenge her. She’s just finally getting the attention she deserves.”
The Bulldogs dominated play in the first half, outshooting the visitors 17-10, but still found themselves in familiar territory — on the short end of a 1-0 score 19 minutes into play. Collins kicked off her career day just over a minute later, knotting the score at one with an unassisted goal at 19:47. Lindroth scored her second of the weekend 10 minutes later to give the Elis a 2-1 lead, and the home team padded their advantage as Collins deposited her second of the day with 22 seconds to go before the half.
Solidifying the contrast between Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, Collins’ final goal came off of a penalty corner 5:25 into the second half.
“We needed a game like this really badly,” Collins said. “Obviously scoring three times was great, but I don’t really care who puts in the goals. We all played great today. I got set up real well, just happened to be the one who put the goals in.”
All thoughts turn to channeling Sunday’s win toward next Saturday’s game against Harvard. While players said thoughts of running the table for a finish above .500 in the League are in the back of their heads, the task must begin with a win against the Cantabs this weekend.
“Our crowning achievement would be to win out,” Crandall said, “but we’re ready to be that upset team this weekend at Harvard.”