This Saturday, the two oldest Ivy rivals, Yale (2-4, 0-2 Ivy) and Harvard (2-4, 0-2 Ivy), will meet with each team pursuing its first Ivy League win of the season. The Elis are coming off a defeat on the road at the ahdns of Boston University on Wednesday in which ten saves from goaltender Erin McMullan ’14 and two goals from Cathryn Avallone ’15 were not enough ot stave off a 13–8 disappointment. The Bulldogs have struggled in the Ivy League as well, with losses already to defending co-champions Dartmouth and Penn .
“Harvard is going to be a hard competitor, and I think that our biggest challenge will be getting everyone on the same page so that we can play to our highest potential and win,” said Avallone.
Harvard, last year’s third-place finisher in the Ivies, is not faring any better than Yale and currently shares the sixth place spot with the Bulldogs. The Crimson recently lost 7-5 to crosstown local rival No. 19 Boston College.
“Harvard is a high energy team, especially on the attacking end,” said goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush ’12. “They have a number of players that like to take it to goal, which can hurt us badly if we are not careful.”
Last season, the Elis took a devastating 19-3 loss to the Crimson, failing to repeat the victory over its archrival two years ago in New Haven. Although the Bulldogs’ attacker trio Jenn Devito ’14, captain Caroline Crow ’12 and Devon Rhodes ’13 scored one goal each in the first half, Harvard emerged as the winner. Harvard finished with an 18–3 advantage in ground balls and a 33–13 advantage in shots. Draw controls were another weak spot for the Elis; Harvard controlled 14 out of the 23. However, Yale’s goal-scorers from last season’s match all return this year. Quackenbush said the team’s strength is in its level of talent on both the attacking and defensive ends.
There are several key Crimson players to watch out for, including attacker Jennifer Vandermeulen. She has already scored six goals this season, and last season she scored 48 and was named first-team All-Ivy League. Another key player is midfielder Danielle Tetreault. Recording 42 goals last season, she has scored 10 goals so far this year. She also has an All-Ivy League second-team honor to her credit.
Quackenbush said if Yale somehow finds ways to neutralize these two potential threats, the game should definitely be Yale’s.
She added that since Yale is a very young team with only four upperclassmen, Harvard could be considered the more experienced of the two.
The Bulldogs are quite familiar with the Crimson’s squad since there are only eight freshmen players out of the 31 in its roster, and most of its starting lineup is composed of upperclassmen. On the other hand, Harvard must face new and unfamiliar opponents since Yale’s lineup is mostly made up of underclassmen.
Avallone said because the team does not rely on one person to win games, it needs every player on the field to have the same mindset in order to display its best teamwork.
Quackenbush said only one thing really matters in this version of The Game: a win.
“We are just looking to play our game. Of course it means a little more than a non-Ivy game because it’s Harvard, but playing our game will be the key to success on Saturday,” Quackenbush said.
The Bulldogs will take on Harvard on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Reese Stadium.