In a gut-wrenching showdown in the final seconds of Saturday’s game, Hofstra (4–1) blocked three consecutive corner shots from the Bulldogs (1–2) and left Johnson field victorious for the first time in six years.
After Hofstra scored its only point in the first ten minutes, the Bulldogs’ tough defense led by goalkeeper Emily Cain ’14 held the game at a stalemate. When the time ran out, the ball was still inside Hofstra’s goal circle. According to field hockey rules, the match continues until the play leaves the circle or a team scores, leading to a charged finale that had spectators on their feet.
Though Yale was disappointed with the outcome, Hofstra coach Kathy De Angelis said the game could have easily gone in Yale’s favor.
“We were out-shot and out-cornered — statistically, we were lucky to end up first on the scoreboard,” De Angelis said.
The Bulldogs made 21 attempts on goal, including eight direct corner shots, but failed to finish their offensive surges. Strikers Nicole Wells ’16 led a dramatic break-away at the end of the first half and fed Jessie Accurso ’15, but the Pride’s goalkeeper Kaitlyn De Turo denied Accurso’s shot. De Turo maintains a .833 career save percentage.
Yale head coach Pam Stuper said the best part of the Bulldogs’ play was a tight defense and skillful backfield passing, and added that the team improved these skills in practice last week.
“We were strong defensively and held them quite well,” Stuper said.
Cain made two miraculous back-to-back saves in the first half. Cain’s efforts and the hustle of relentless midfielder Mary Beth Barham ’13 were key to holding off Hofstra’s strong offensive line when the play moved to Yale’s side of the field.
Adversities harmed the Bulldogs’ chances at a win, Stuper said. Hard-hitting back Georgia Holland ’14 went down in the first period with a knee injury. The game stalled for several minutes as responders helped her off the field, and she retired from the rest of the match.
Teammates were especially concerned about the nature of the injury, as Holland was selected last month to be one of 18 American field hockey players representing the United States in the Under-21 (U21) Pan American Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico. Unfortunately, Holland will not be competing in Mexico, Stuper said in an email last night.
The team has also faced the challenge of a large turnover this year. But Sharp and Stuper said the new freshmen are overcoming the dual challenge of adjusting to both college life and to the team.
“They’re doing really well and forming a cohesive unit,” Sharp said. “We lost some good players, but the freshmen are stepping up.”
As of Saturday, Stuper said she is not sure if the team will continue its goal-a-thon or find other means to meet the $50,000 for the “Get a Grip” campaign for myotonic dystrophy research in honor of team member Ona McConnell ’13 Today’s shutout will ultimately not detract from the amount of money raised, she added.
The Bulldogs are still driven to have the scoreboard reflect their hard work and energy as they enter their first Ivy League game, Sharp said. Training for the upcoming match at Harvard (1–1), Sharp said the team will revisit fundamentals and hold on to Saturday’s high intensity level, which should help the Elis finish their offensive attempts and score some points.