The women’s hockey team has come out of a successful opening weekend with a few scars but plenty of confidence.

In their first two matches of the season, Yale tied 1-1 against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday in Troy, NY. On Saturday, the Bulldogs defeated Union 3-2 at Messa Rink.

Going into the game, RPI had already played six games, and defender Helen Resor ’09 said the Engineers were better prepared for Friday’s game than the Bulldogs. The team was satisfied with its performance against RPI, which has proved to be a strong opponent in the past, several players said.

“A tie isn’t awful,” forward Crysti Howser ’09 said. “It’s a fine result.”

Several players said they found the match with Union more surprising. Last year, the Bulldogs shut out Union, and team members said they expected a similar result this season.

“We’ve usually had an easier time with [Union] in the past,” Howser said. “They’re usually not as strong as they were [on Saturday].”

In particular, the strong Union defense contributed to the close score. The Dutchwoman goalie blocked the majority of the Bulldog’s many attempted goals.

“We outshot them 57-7,” Resor said. “That’s a ridiculous number of shots to only have three goals. Their goalie just stood on her head — she played really well.”

Howser said there were a lot of things the team needed to work on, especially the offense.

“We had a lot of shots but we need to start getting more traffic in front of the net.” she said.

Resor said some of the Elis’ successful shots were more the product of luck than deliberation.

“The shot that I took that went in — my mom could have shot that,” Resor said. “It wasn’t a hard shot, just a lucky bounce.”

With two matches under their belts, players said they now know what to expect from the season, which promises to be challenging.

“In the past, these two teams have made up some of the easier games on our schedule for the season,” forward and defender Kristen Stupay ’09 said. “But the level of competition that both teams brought to the table showed just how even of a playing field we will be dealing with this year. Every team is going to be a tough game and we’ll definitely have to fight for every win.”

Other Ivy League teams also had closely contested match-ups this weekend. Resor said that the high level of play should be expected throughout the season.

“Teams like Dartmouth and Harvard that are used to just killing teams — I don’t think we’re going to see that this year,” Resor said. “There are going to be a lot of really close games.”

However, players said the team is confident in its ability to meet the challenge offered by the large number of rising teams this year. Resor said the Elis expect their endurance and strong team dynamic to be their greatest assets as they face the upcoming weeks.

“I’d say we are very optimistic about the team for this season,” Stupay said. “We have a short bench this year, but every single person brings something valuable to our line-up and is able to contribute.”