A win over the Vermont Catamounts this weekend marked an end to the field hockey team’s four-game losing streak and five-game stretch on the road.
After falling to the Dartmouth Big Green in Hanover on Saturday by 4–3, the Bulldogs bounced back and defeated the Catamounts in Burlington on Sunday 3–2.
The Bulldogs (4–8, 1–4 Ivy) struck first against Vermont (1–13, 0–3 America East). Midfielder Erica Borgo ’14 scored an early, unassisted goal (2:21) when she gained possession of a loose ball in front of the net and spun to put it away. The team continued to keep pressure deep in the offensive zone, recording seven more shots (13–6) than the Catamounts. But the opponent answered back with the second goal of the first half at 22:23.
Late in the second half, Vermont midfielder Whitlee Burghardt managed to find the net, putting the Catamounts on top with just 3:22 left in regulation time. Head Coach Pamela Stuper called a timeout.
“We changed the system that we were in, providing a little bit more pressure on Vermont and playing more aggressively,” Stuper said.
The Bulldogs responded, capitalizing on a penalty corner earned in the final minute of play. Midfielder/back Mary Beth Barnham ’13 scored on a deflection assisted by Molly Wolf ’16 with 27 seconds remaining, sending the two teams to sudden death.
“When overtime began we had all the momentum from scoring the last minute goal,” forward/midfielder Emily Schuckert ’14 said.
Three minutes into overtime, forward Brooke Gogel ’14 and forward/midfielder Nicole Wells ’16 executed a give-and-go on a breakaway. Gogel, who is coming off a back injury that ended her sophomore season prematurely, finished it off with a goal in 72:40.
“My back is feeling good and I’m happy to be helping the team,” Gogel said. “I think this win will give us a lot of momentum going forward. I’m excited for the next few games and I think we can capitalize on all of our strengths to finish the season strong,” she added.
The Bulldogs outshot Vermont 29–18, and goalkeeper Emily Caine ’13 had five saves for the victory.
An explosive first half for Dartmouth’s offense put Yale back three goals at the end of 35 minutes. Though the Elis responded two minutes after the first goal with a deflection by Gogel (10:49), Dartmouth scored a total of three more goals within six minutes to end the half.
“We came out in the first half back on our heels and Dartmouth definitely took advantage of it,” Schuckert said. “By halftime, we realized we had to turn things around and start attacking.”
Yale’s comeback bid started in the 47th minute with a goal by forward Jessie Accurso ’15, who gathered a loose ball in the circle and beat Dartmouth goalkeeper Ellen Meyer. Accurso also notched an assist to Borgo, who put away her centering feed with a one-timer on a fast break. But despite its efforts, the team could not find the equalizer.
“In terms of what went right and wrong, I think that we did a great job battling back from a deficit at the half, [but] didn’t come out in the first half as hard as we did in the second,” Accurso said.
After scoring a total of six goals this weekend, the Bulldogs have put an end to their scoring drought. The team has played a number of top-tier opponents with strong defenses in recent weeks, falling to all of them.
Stuper said the team has worked on shooting early and often in the circle rather than passing off to one another.
The Elis return to Johnson Field this weekend and will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Yale Field Hockey with games against Penn and Albany.