The Yale women’s field hockey team proved it deserved every one of the 12 votes it received in this week’s national poll with two convincing victories at Johnson Field this past weekend. The Bulldogs (8–5, 3–1 Ivy) followed up a 5–2 win against Ivy League rival Dartmouth (6–7, 2–2) Saturday with an emphatic 6–0 drubbing of Fairfield in the rain and cold Sunday.
The Elis came into Saturday’s game tied with Dartmouth and Cornell for second in the Ivy League standings, making the matchup a crucial one for both teams.
Yale jumped out to an early lead when forward Mia Rosati ’12 scored a diving goal off an assist from fellow forward Ashley McCauley ’10. Dartmouth tied the game up, but sophomore back Erin Carter ’12 responded with her fifth goal in the last six games to regain the lead for the Elis. McCauley then converted a pass from midfielder Dinah Landshut ’12 to send the Bulldogs to halftime with a two-goal lead.
Just seven minutes into the second half, captain Julia Weiser ’10 added to that lead with a penalty corner goal. After Dartmouth scored to cut the lead back down to two, McCauley struck again on an assist from midfielder Katie Cantore ’10 to finish the scoring and make it 5–2.
Dartmouth boasts the league’s second-leading scorer, forward Kelly Hood, who leads a prolific penalty corner scoring attack. One might have assumed, then, that the Bulldogs being outshot 19–6 in the second half, and having only three corners to the Big Green’s 14, would be a recipe for disaster.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, Charlotte Goins ’10 was in goal. Goins made 11 saves in the game, 10 in the second half, including several spectacular stops on Hood’s “drag-flick” shots off the penalty corner.
“We spent the week watching film on their corner options, especially their drag-flick,” Goins said. “We focused on that type of shot in practice — doing rep after rep of high and low drags. Dinah is excellent at reading options from her fly position, so we could tell when they were going to use their drag or another side option.”
The preparation paid off, as the Bulldogs survived the Big Green’s onslaught to hold onto second place in the conference.
After scoring five goals Saturday, the Bulldogs outdid themselves Sunday, scoring six goals and allowing just one shot against the Fairfield Stags. Despite a game-time temperature of 43 degrees and heavy rain falling all game, the Elis stayed hot throughout the entire contest. The scoring started with a penalty corner goal by back Marissa Waldemore ’11, who tipped a Weiser shot to give the Bulldogs the early lead.
Another tipped shot, this time from Rosati, was deflected 15 minutes later by Mary Beth Barham ’13 for the freshman’s second goal of the year.
Yale’s third goal came with just two minutes remaining in the first half and was sparked by great stick work in the circle by Landshut. After dribbling through the Fairfield defense, Landshut pushed the ball to McCauley, who converted it for her team-leading 11th goal of the season.
The offensive onslaught resumed 10 minutes into the second half, when Chelsey Locarno ’12 sent a ball in to Waldemore, who converted for her second tally of the game. Freshmen Lexy Adams ’13 then added her first career goal, deflecting a shot from Taylor Sankovich ’12 past Fairfield’s Caitlin O’Donnell to give the Elis the 5–0 advantage.
The Bulldogs’ final goal, which came with five minutes left in the second half, was on a Cantore feed to Lesley Keiger ’11 for Cantore’s 14th assist on the season. That moves Cantore into a tie for first all-time in assists over a single season in Yale history — a record she has four games left to break.
Fellow senior McCauley is also honing in on Yale’s all-time rankings. With seven more points this weekend, she now has 91 for her career — seven off the record set by Emily Montgomery ’78. Sunday’s goal was the 40th of her career, which is six shy of Montgomery’s all-time mark.
Cantore and McCauley have led the way offensively all season for the Bulldogs, whose 11-goal performance this weekend has certainly validated the 12 votes they received in last week’s coaches’ poll — and probably won over a few more voters. The team has kept up a strong offensive attack all season, scoring 38 goals in just 13 games.
“I think we’ve definitely benefitted from some tough games and have been able to make a lot of the necessary improvements,” McCauley said. “We were really looking to make the most of each opportunity in the circle this weekend, and everyone did a really good job.”