Maybe if it hadn’t been the last game of the season, Yale field hockey could have mentally rallied to beat Brown.
The Bulldogs (7-10, 2-5 Ivy) traveled to Providence on Saturday for their season finale against the Bears (5-12, 1-6 Ivy), which ended in a 4-1 loss.
Head coach Pam Stuper said it was especially hard to get into the game against the Bears knowing that it was the last of the season and the last for the class of 2009.
Captain Ali Rotondo ’09 gave Yale a strong start with a rebound shot that slipped into the goal just two and half minutes into the game. For the next 20 minutes, the Bulldogs stayed ahead, but Brown’s Leslie Springmeyer shot past Yale goalie Katie Bolling ’11 for the first Bear point. Three more goals within six minutes in the beginning of the second half — two more from Springmeyer — lifted Brown out of Yale’s reach.
The game was a significant disappointment for the Bulldogs. They were on their first three-game winning streak of the season with victories against Fairfield, Columbia and Quinnipiac. Statistically, Brown was the weaker team — based on Brown’s fewer season goals and its performance against opponents, Yale was supposed to have the advantage. But Stuper said the Elis didn’t make the necessary adjustments against the Bears’ offense, which contributed to the loss.
“Brown was a better team [that day],” Stuper said.
Stuper said Brown’s fast breaks — such as when Springmeyer was able to break away from the defense and meet Bolling one-on-one — gave Brown a huge advantage. She added that the Elis made poorly angled shots throughout the game and did not capitalize on corners like they usually do. The Bulldogs ended the game with an 11-4 edge in penalty corners, but none of them resulted in goals.
Rotondo said that the team had high hopes for the Brown matchup, and were frustrated and disappointed after the game.
“We learned that you never underestimate an opponent,” she said.
The Bulldogs end the season tied with Harvard and Columbia for fifth place in the Ivy League.
This season has seen some intense games for the Elis. They have been able to keep up with nationally ranked teams such as University of Connecticut and Lock Haven, but they have also suffered disappointing losses against teams like Princeton and Harvard. Rotondo said that Ashley McCauley ’10 scoring the first point in the game against University of North Carolina was a season highlight for the team. She added the matchup with Quinnipiac, in which the Bulldogs defeated the Bobcats in a 6-0 shutout, was a fun game for the team.
McCauley was the top scorer for the Bulldogs this year, with 14 goals. Behind her was Dinah Landshut ’12 from Hamburg, Germany, who scored the Elis’ first goal of the season, and finished with six.
This year also saw a change in keepers. Goalie Charlotte Goins ’10 played the entirety of last season and the first half of this one. But with a 26-minute shutout against Sacred Heart, Bolling began to assert herself as the second Eli keeper. Stuper said that the two goalies have very different playing styles. She added that they supported and learned from each other, but also often competed in practice for the starting position. Bolling played 776 minutes and had 21 saves. Goins played 449 minutes and had 18 saves.
Overall, Stuper said she thinks the Bulldogs progressed since the beginning of the season, citing the team’s improved cohesiveness and understanding of the game as signs of their growth. She said the team is one of the hardest-working on campus — but that they have had to be patient when it comes to winning.
“For whatever reason, it just hasn’t happened yet,” she said.