Last year, Yale and Princeton’s field hockey teams were Ivy League co-champions, but on Saturday, the Bulldogs fell to No. 3 Princeton in an 8–0 shutout. Yale, however, regained its footing to beat Sacred Heart the following day.
Princeton (7–1, 2–0), entered Saturday’s game at Yale’s Johnson Field undefeated and beat Yale (3–4, 1–1) in what was mostly a defensive struggle for the Elis. Princeton outshot Yale 33–4, and Yale goalkeeper Emily Cain ’14 made nine saves before being relieved midway through the second half by Heather Schlesier ’15. Princeton scored three goals in the first half and five in the second.
“A team like Princeton is difficult to defend because they have proven themselves to be very dangerous inside the circle — even if only given a few opportunities,” Cain wrote in an email to the News. “That being said, I think that our defense really did a good job stepping up against some of the best strikers in the country and had many successes in our performance.”
Losing to Princeton is a tough blow for Yale, as the Tigers are the highest-ranked team in the Ivy League. Since 2009, Yale has won 18 of 19 games it has played against Ivy League schools other than Princeton, and the Elis lost to Princeton last year, 3–2.
Each year, Yale spends much of the beginning of its season preparing for the game against Princeton, as it is considered one of the most important games in the field hockey schedule.
“Every year we play Princeton pretty early in the season, and I always try to get some top teams … on the schedule before we play Princeton, because we know they’re going to be a top team,” head coach Pam Stuper told the News last week. “I think it’s important that you have an opportunity to play a top team before you have that game.”
On Sunday, Yale defeated Sacred Heart (5–3) with a final score of 3–1. Midfielder and back Noelle Villa ’16, midfielder Erica Borgo ’14 and forward Jessie Accurso ’15 each scored goals.
“We worked as a team very well against Sacred Heart,” Schlesier said in an email. “We continued to find each other up the field and were able to put in three beautiful goals. I definitely think the win today will help carry us into next weekend against Cornell.”
Borgo added that the team will keep its focus as it heads into an Ivy League competition against Cornell next weekend.
Yale will hit the road to take on Cornell (1–6, 1–1) on Saturday and Syracuse (9–0) on Sunday.