Fresh from Wednesday’s victory, the women’s hockey team will strive to prove again this weekend that history need not repeat itself.
The Bulldogs will take on Brown tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Meehan Auditorium on the Bears’ Providence campus. The Elis are coming off of a refreshing 3-2 win versus Providence College — a welcome amendment to their lopsided 3-25 track record against the Friars — and now will strive to chip away at another unenviable historical hockey relationship.
“We’ve had a discouraging history [playing against Brown],” associate head coach Harry Rosenholtz said. “I think last year, we won our first game against their team in [almost forty] tries.”
Indeed, last year’s 3-1 victory over Brown was Yale’s first since 1988, shattering a seventeen-year streak of thirty-six losses and a single tie. On top of that, last year’s game was the first Bulldogs victory at Brown since 1982.
Whether or not this year’s team can duplicate that achievement did not worry Rosenholtz, who said that while it’s never a good idea to make predictions, he has confidence in the girls and believes it is altogether possible that the Elis will rack up another win.
“Circumstances have changed [since that losing streak], and there’s much more parity in the league now than there was before,” he said. “We expect it to be a great game.”
Although such a long stretch of defeat might make last year’s victory seem insignificant after so many losses, forward Christina Sharun ’07 said the rivalry between the two teams will ultimately give Saturday’s game more meaning in the eyes of the Bulldogs.
“History has definitely been against us, but we always play them competitively,” she said. “And this way, the game has double the meaning for us. It’s a really big game, but we’re looking forward to playing it, and we’re excited about our chances.”
Also, the Yale hockey program has improved as a whole in recent years, Rosenholtz said, meaning that the two teams might finally be evenly matched.
“Historically, Brown was always one of the stronger programs,” he said. “They had Olympic-quality, national-level kids. But now, we’re attracting that level of talent and that level of athlete to Yale as well.”
At least one of those Olympic-level athletes will likely be absent on Saturday. Forward Helen Resor ’09 is still playing with Team USA in Canada and, barring a Team USA loss, will not be back in time for Saturday’s game. Head coach Hilary Witt will also be gone, leaving Rosenholtz and Kim Mathias as co-head coaches for the present.
Although Resor will not be present, her teammates will still strive to demonstrate that Olympic-level quality Rosenholtz mentioned. Even in her four years on the team, Sharun said, she has seen a marked improvement in the squad.
“There’s a huge difference between now and four years ago,” she said. “The program’s really gone nowhere but up since I got here.”
Rosenholtz was cautiously optimistic about the match-up on Saturday, citing several areas of play on which the Bulldogs will need to focus come game time.
“We’ll have to tighten up our play in the neutral zone and our defense as well as working on our penalty killing,” he said. “In that sort of situation, we need to work on being more aggressive.”
And if those aspects of the Elis’ play fall into place, the team may nab its second victory since most of the freshmen on the team were born.
“Then a win is definitely possible,” forward Mandi Schwartz ’10 said.