The Yale women’s field hockey team sent its seniors off with a bang Saturday, celebrating Senior Day with a 6–2 win over Brown (5–12, 0–6). As they have all season, the Bulldogs mounted a high-scoring offensive attack to close out what has been one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history.
Even more fittingly, the day belonged to a senior, as forward Ashley McCauley ’10 scored eight minutes into the second half, pushing her past Emily Montgomery ’78 as Yale’s all-time leader in points with 100. McCauley’s three points in Saturday’s contest (including an assist to Dinah Landshut ’12 early in the second half) make her the first Bulldog ever to reach 100.
McCauley’s goal also had significance for the team, as it marked the Elis’ 142nd point on the season, breaking the previous record of 141 set by the 1998 squad.
Early on, it looked like the Brown lines would be able to hold against the Bulldogs’ offense. Goalie Caroline Washburn prevented the Elis from capitalizing on several scoring chances throughout the first 10 minutes before a penalty corner gave Landshut the chance to shoot a Marissa Waldemore ’11 pass into the net to get the Bulldogs on the board. Another penalty corner yielded Yale’s second goal just minutes later when back Erin Carter ’12, the team’s second-leading goal-scorer, scored on a pass from midfielder — and Yale’s all-time single season assist leader — Katie Cantore ’10 for Carter’s eighth goal of the season and Cantore’s record 15th assist.
With the game seemingly in hand, the only remaining suspense, that of whether McCauley could complete her takeover of the Yale record books, did not last long into halftime. After initiating a breakaway, McCauley sent a ball up to Landshut, who dove and just managed to get a stick on the ball, scoring a goal to give her teammate the assist and guarantee McCauley at least a share of the Yale all-time points record. Landshut then set up the record breaker, shooting a pass into the circle that McCauley tipped past Washburn to give herself sole possession of the record.
With the game in their control and the record broken, the Elis then added icing to their 2009 cake, as Taylor Sankovich ’12 scored her first career goal to extend the lead, and Johna Paolino ’11 added her second of the season to round out the scoring.
The win gave the Bulldogs a 12–5 record for the season, and a 6–1 record in Ivy League play, good for second overall behind only nationally-ranked Princeton. The 2009 season also was the first winning season for the team’s seniors — McCauley, Cantore, Captain Julia Weiser ’10, goalie Charlotte Goins ’10, forward Lesley Keiger ’10 and back Stephanie Colantonio ’10.
“I’m thrilled for them,” head coach Pam Stuper said in a press release. “They are a tremendous group of young women, and it’s been a pleasure to see them through four years.”
McCauley added, “I would say this season overall was a huge success for the team. We got the winning record we wanted, and it wasn’t just by one or two games. We’ve turned into a team that can come from behind and that wins the close games. There’s a confidence there now that wasn’t there in past seasons.”
Much of that confidence can be attributed to the attitude of those six members of this year’s senior class, teammates said.
“Playing with them has been awesome,” Mary Beth Barham ’13 said of the team’s seniors. “They have been leaders on and off the field. They all have unbelievable work ethics which have pushed everyone else to work harder. I think the tone they set for both games and practices will continue even without them.”
While the attitude brought by the class of 2010 may not be lost as the team looks ahead to next season, a significant portion of the scoring attack that helped to make this year’s team so successful will be. Yet of the team’s top six scorers this season, only two will be lost to graduation. The remaining four, Carter, Landshut, Waldemore and forward Mia Rosati ’12, combined for 61 points this season, more than a third of the team’s record-breaking 2009 total.
But even if the team can reload talent-wise for next season, it will be the loss of the members of class of 2010 off the field that will sting the most for graduates and underclassmen, players said.
“Getting the six Ivy wins was really exciting and is a great way to go out,” McCauley said. “But even more than that, we have a team chemistry like no team I’ve ever seen. We had an amazing time together this season, and that’s what I’ll always remember.”