This Sunday’s game at Columbia is crucial for the Yale women’s field hockey team — not only because of the implications for the 2009 season but also because of the game’s potential historical significance.

Coming off a hard-fought win against Penn in Philadelphia last Sunday, the Bulldogs (10–5, 4–1 Ivy) are just one game out of first place in the Ivy League and have received votes in the Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches poll for four straight weeks.

The game this coming Sunday is particularly meaningful for Yale’s senior class. With its record five games above .500 with just two games to go, the members of class of 2010 will finish this season with a winning record for the first time in their careers. Sunday’s contest gives seniors Ashley McCauley ’10 and Katie Cantore ’10 the chance to continue their already stellar seasons and climb up the Yale record books.

With her assist against Quinnipiac last Thursday, Cantore became Yale’s all-time single-season assist leader. She will look to add to her 28 career assists and solidify her hold on second place in Yale’s all-time career mark, behind Sarah Driscoll ’05, who holds the record with 42.

Sunday is also an important game for McCauley, whose team-leading 12 goals give her 41 career tallies, just five shy of the Yale all-time record. McCauley’s 12 points in the last five games give her 28 on the season and 95 for her career, placing her just three points behind Emily Montgomery’s ’78 record 98 career points.

With a win Sunday, the Elis will retain their hold on second place in the Ivy League. In order to build on their memorable season and gain at least a share of the Ivy League title, the Bulldogs must win their remaining two games and hope that undefeated Princeton stumbles in one of its remaining contests against Penn or Princeton.

If Yale wants to uphold its end of the bargain, the only things standing in its way are the Lions (7–7, 1–3), who have bounced back from a 3–4 start and taken four of their last six contests. Columbia’s most recent outing was a 1–0 win at Vermont on Sunday.

Yale and Columbia will face off Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in New York City.