Yale field hockey’s win against Holy Cross came at an opportune time, boosting morale for the previously winless Bulldogs before they open Ivy League play against Harvard this upcoming Saturday.

After losing to Providence (5-2) Sept. 7, Saturday’s 3-1 victory was especially satisfying considering Holy Cross (1-4) actually defeated Providence 1-0 last Wednesday.

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“For Holy Cross to have beat Providence, a team that we lost to by a pretty large margin, says a lot for us in beating them,” said head coach Pam Stuper.

“I’m really proud of us for getting a win.”

The Bulldogs took control of the game 20 minutes in, when forward Ashley McCauley ’10 dribbled the ball from midfield and, with no one in front of her, drew out Holy Cross goalie Erin Singleton long enough to place the ball in the net.

“Ashley’s goal is a testament to knowing what your opponent has,” said Stuper, referring to the Singleton’s height and aggressiveness. “You have to move [Singleton] … I was very proud of [McCauley] for recognizing that and implementing it to put us on the scoreboard at the start of the game.”

Six minutes later, Jayna Whitcher ’09 scored off of a rebound to end the first half with Yale leading 2-0.

The Crusaders’ Katie Aylward scored on goalie Charlotte Goins ’10 at the beginning of the second stanza, halving Yale’s two-point advantage. With six minutes left in the game, however, a penalty corner let midfielder Katie Cantore ’10 gain back Yale’s edge. The Bulldogs held off the Crusaders for the rest of the game, finishing 3-1 in their first victory of the season. Yale ended with 17 shots to Holy Cross’ seven, and an 11-3 advantage in penalty corners.

“We willed ourselves to win. We weren’t going to lose again,” Goins said.

Although the team was proud of playing well in their last game against UConn, they were especially focused on winning against Holy Cross.

The attention paid off.

“I think we trusted each other more, we really went all out,” Goins said.

Stuper also said she was happy with the win, though she recognized room for improvement, including strengthening the team’s press and capitalizing on opportunities near the goal.

“I mean, we had 15 shots and three goals,” Stuper said. “That’s not bad. But I wouldn’t have minded five out of 15 shots.”

Almost every player on the team got substantial playing time in Saturday’s game, including continued contribution from the freshmen.

The game was especially significant for Cantore, who had only two goals all of last season.

“I told Katie that the difference between last year and this year is that she’s becoming a scorer,” said Stuper. “Instead of being the most underrated player in the league, people are going to take notice, because that part of her game has gotten stronger and she’s starting to put herself on the scoreboard.”

Cantore was not sure whether she would continue to score more this season, but agreed that this game was good for the team.

“We are psyched going into our Ivy League play with this game behind us,” Cantore said. “We saw that we can work together and support each other and that the pieces will fall into place on the field.”