Unlike their fellow Elis playing in the Yale Bowl across the street, the field hockey team ended up on the short end of a tight battle with Penn on Saturday afternoon at Johnson Field.
The Elis (8-7, 3-2 Ivy) fell to the Quakers (3-11, 2-3 Ivy), 3-2, in game marked by flat efforts from both teams. With the loss, any chance of the 2006 Bulldogs matching the Yale season record of five wins is now statistically out of the question.
Emily Palilonis ’07 scored the first goal of the game on an assist from captain Heather Orrico ’07. The Elis would hold on to the lead for most of the first half until the Quakers evened up the game at 1-1 with just under seven minutes to go before halftime.
“Scoring first is a great feat, but we gave them too many opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on our own opportunities,” Orrico said.
The Elis looked strong coming out of the gate in the second half, and an early score would break the deadlock. Midfielder Harriet Thayer ’08 fed the ball to midfielder Rachel Lentz ’07, who hit the net to break the tie.
But after going up 2-1, Elis gave the Quakers plenty of opportunities to get back into the game, which the visitors gladly capitalized on.
“We were up at one point and winning the game, but unfortunately we couldn’t keep the lead,” midfielder Ali Rotundo ‘09 said. “We made a few defensive mistakes, which led to goals.”
The lead was short lived, and the Quakers regained the momentum within minutes to even up the game again and then eventually overtake the Elis.
“We didn’t step out to play the game. We allowed them to continually come down and equalize the score and eventually win the game,” midfielder Lindsay Collins ‘07 said.
For the rest of the game, the Elis tried to gain back an offensive edge, but were not able to do so. Rotondo and Orrico said the difference may have been in the defensive corners.
“If we minimized those opportunities, we could come out on top a lot more often,” Orrico said.
On Saturday the Quakers had 10 penalty corners against Yale’s four, which gave them a fair amount of opportunities to score. In previous games where the Elis have come out on top, they have limited the number of corner opportunities — in their win over Dartmouth Oct.7, the Elis held the Big Green to only one penalty corner.
Compared to last year, when the Bulldogs had difficultly putting the ball away, this year they are hitting the net to create close, one-point difference games.
Despite Saturday’s defeat, the Elis are looking ahead to their last three games of the season. In practice, they have honed in on both offensive and defensive drills below the 25-yard line, and their focus will remain unchanged through the final two weeks of training.
“Especially last week, we did a lot of drills where we were playing in the circle,” Rotondo said. “That’s the only place to score. Games are won in the circle”.
The Bulldogs still have the chance to finish either second or third in the league, a big improvement from last year’s seventh place finish. In the next week, the Elis will host Quinnipiac in a midweek game, then square off against Columbia in their home finale.
“The season went by so quickly and I know the team has put forth so much effort,” Rotundo said. “Everybody is still staying positive and we really believe we can finish strong and have something to show for how hard we’ve worked.”