The Elis will travel to Hamilton, N.Y., tomorrow to face Colgate carrying the momentum of Wednesday’s 13-9 victory against Marist with them. The victory against Marist was the team’s first away win of the season and gave it an extra boost of confidence after a string of four losses.
“Colgate is one of the better teams in the Patriot League but seems to be having an off year this year,” head coach Anne Phillips said. “But we cannot take this team lightly or overlook them in any respect.”
The Bulldogs (3-5, 0-3 Ivy) defeated the visiting Raiders 10-7 at home last year.
With only two victories and eight losses this season, Colgate (2-8, 2-1 Patriot) is desperate for a win.
“We don’t want to be the team that gives it to them, although they won’t go down easily,” Phillips said.
Phillips said the home field advantage was a huge factor in the team’s win last season. She added that she did not think Colgate played to its full potential last year.
In their last meeting, Yale outdid the Raiders in every aspect of the game, except turnovers (18-14) and fouls (19-17). The Bulldogs showed overwhelming strength in shots (24-19), draw controls (12-7) and ground ball controls (21-17). Goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush ’12 also recorded one more save than her Colgate counterpart Christina Roa.
The returning key player to watch on the Raiders’ side is Amanda O’Sullivan. She led her team’s attack last year by scoring two goals and taking a quarter of Colgate’s recorded shots during the match in New Haven. She scored 22 goals in total last season and averaged a goal per game. So far this season alone, she has already scored 21 goals and is the second lead scorer on her team. Another key Raider player is their captain Courtney Miller. With 29 goals and ten assists, she is the Raiders’ top scorer this season. She has earned first team All-Patriot League honors three years running and was named second team All-Region by IWLCA. Along with O’Sullivan, she also recorded two goals and an assist against Yale last year.
Man-to-man defense is expected in Saturday’s match.
“If we can keep them from scoring, I like our chances,” Phillips said. “We will have lock down defenders on them.”
Yale has improved significantly in turnovers and clears lately. The number of turnovers has been consistently decreasing, and the team has been putting a heavy emphasis on clears during every practice.
Although the team struggled with creating shot opportunities at the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs now seem to have gotten over that hitch, recording 34 shots against Marist this week.
Phillips said the team now needs to improve in its shooting percentage, which means scoring on more shots.
Midfielder Sabine van der Linden ’14 and midfielder Christina Doherty ’15, Yale’s two main face-off players, have been stepping up with strong draw controls. Phillips said Colgate has been very successful on the draw this year and draw control will be a very important factor in the game.
Captain Caroline Crow ’12, midfielder Cathryn Avallone ’15 and attacker Devon Rhodes ’13 are Yale’s top three scorers so far this season. Crow leads with 14 goals, including a fantastic hat-trick in Wednesday’s match. Attacker Jen DeVito ’14 has made a huge impact on the team by scoring five goals in a single game, against Marist. Avallone and Rhodes have so far recorded 12 and 11, respectively. Crow and midfielder Ashley McCormick ’14 will be the two top scorers among the returning starters for the Saturday game.
Phillips said the Bulldogs, who are now midway through their scheduled matches, have shown significant improvement compared to last season.
Whereas the team recorded only three wins overall last year with 83 goals, it has already secured that many victories this year along with 77 goals.
One downside to the upcoming game is that the Bulldogs will have to take another two-hour road trip to New York just after their trip to Marist on Wednesday. However, Phillips said since there is no midweek game next week, the team will be totally focused on its match against Princeton on April 7.
Tomorrow’s game starts at 1 p.m.