This weekend the Yale field hockey team heads north in an attempt to secure its first winning streak of the season.
The Bulldogs (2–8, 0–3 Ivy) are preparing to face Maine (6–6, 1–0 America East) and stop the Black Bears’ four game win streak while starting one of their own.
“We’re excited to have a strong non-conference opponent here on our bye week from league play,” head coach Pam Stuper said, after the game against Bryant on Wednesday.
The Elis’ victory in that match-up was the team’s first since it defeated Quinnipiac in overtime on Sept. 13, the third game of the season.
Yale took nine shots, three times as many as it did in the game against Cornell on Saturday, and midfielder Carol Middough ’18 put away the team’s only goal of the contest.
Goalkeeper Heather Schlesier ’15 also had a big game, saving seven shots.
”I think we were more connected this game than we have been in previous games,” forward Jessie Accurso ’15 said. “This is a definite confidence booster going forward.”
The season has been marked with an ability to translate skill into wins, said captain Nicole Wells ’16, but the game against Bryant proved the team’s potential.
While the Bulldogs may have always had the potential to win, Wells said they recently realized their potential through their mental preparation and practice performance.
“For Yale Field Hockey it has become a mental game of walking out to Johnson field and deciding that we want to win any game no matter what the cost,” Wells said. “We started this winning mentality in practice which ultimately came into our play for Bryant.”
The Elis still have four more conference games before the end of the season. Yale is the only Ivy League team who is not coming off a loss as it enters this weekend.
According to Wells, this second half of the season marks a change in momentum for the team.
“The first half of the season is done,” Wells said. “There is no changing it. The second half presents us with a chance to finish out the season the way we want to. It is almost like a fresh start.”
For the team, sticking to Stuper’s game plan is the most important part of practice and play. In the match against Maine, Accurso hopes that the team will stay connected on the field and play two strong halves of field hockey.
Last season, Yale nearly defeated the Black Bears 4-3 in a memorable overtime, according to Wells, but the team won’t let that be the source of its confidence.
“Our team is constantly preparing for any of our opponents,” Wells said. “We analyze, plan, and strategize for a game up until the time that the first whistle blows beginning regulation play.”
The game will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and be the team’s only game this weekend.