After two weeks away from conference play, the Yale field hockey team is ready to once again face an Ivy League opponent.
Yale (2–9, 0–3 Ivy) will travel north this weekend to New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth (4–7, 2–1) on Saturday and No. 4 Connecticut (9–3, 2–0 Big East) on Sunday.
“We are hoping to come home with two wins after this weekend,” back Kiwi Comizio ’18 said. “We’ve been training hard all week and we are really excited to get to play another league game and against a top 10 team.”
Currently in third place in the Ancient Eight, Dartmouth is coming off an overtime victory against Holy Cross on Monday. This game marks the halfway point in conference play for both the Bulldogs and the Big Green.
In order to get a win against Dartmouth, the Elis will need to take advantage of a porous Dartmouth defense. The Big Green leads the league in number of saves per game, with 9.30 per game, compared to second place Yale’s 8.73. The Big Green, however, has also allowed the most goals scored against it in the Ancient Eight, averaging 3.47 a game. By contrast, Ivy leader Cornell averages only 0.88.
“We are very focused on getting on our first Ivy League win this Saturday versus Dartmouth,” forward Jessie Accurso ’15 said.
Connecticut is also having a successful season, as the team currently leads the Big East conference, just barely ahead of No. 10 Temple, and is in the midst of a three-game winning streak. The Huskies also won last year’s national championship.
As the Elis prepare for the weekend, they are focusing on attention to detail and strong fundamentals, according to back Noelle Villa ’16.
“Combined with our strong midfield play, we hope [that focus] will translate into capitalizing on the opportunities we create — both on attack and defense,” Villa said.
Most important for the Bulldogs will be getting the ball into the back of the net, as the team has only scored 10 goals the entire season, 12 behind the seventh-place team in the Ivy League, Princeton. Right now, for every goal that Yale has scored, it has given up three.
Despite a difficult season, and a winless Ivy campaign thus far, the players say they will continue to give every game their all.
“I’d say one of the best things about Yale field hockey is our tenacity,” Villa said. “Yes, we’ve had some tough competition, but we’re still fighting and we’re not giving up.”
Being a young team, however, has already started paying dividends for Yale. Midfielder Carol Middough ’18 was honored this week as an Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Middough has scored three goals in nine shots, which accounts for 30 percent of the team’s goals. She has only played in seven games all season, missing the first four contests, all of which were non-conference matches.
Middough is the first Rookie of the Week for Yale since Erica Borgo ’14, who was awarded the honor in November of 2010.
“Each and every week is an opportunity to play the sport we love at a high level of intensity,” Villa said. “We get to do it together — that’s not something we take for granted.”
Saturday’s game starts at noon, while Sunday’s game against Connecticut begins at 2 p.m.