Both literally and figuratively, the Yale field hockey team’s game Saturday against American University was muddy, as driving rain stunted the Elis’ offense and helped give the Eagles a 1–0 win.
Playing in less-than-ideal conditions, neither team was able to generate abundant scoring opportunities. Forward and midfielder Carol Middough ’18 had the Bulldogs’ only two shots on goal, and Yale’s offense, which has tallied just three goals through three games, was stifled by a talented young Eagles defense.
“Even though we didn’t have the outcome we would have liked, it was a solid effort that we can continue to build on,” captain Noelle Villa ’16 said.
While American’s (4–2, 0–0 Patriot) offense was unable to get going throughout the game, the Eagles created more scoring chances than the visiting Bulldogs. Yet goalkeeper Emilie Katz ’17 maintained a strong performance, totaling eight saves. Katz was beaten, however, roughly 20 minutes into the second half when freshman standout Rafaela Rubas put away an unassisted goal. Rubas has been on a scoring tear of late, scoring all five of her goals this year in American’s past four games.
The rain was constant and the game was temporarily postponed due to lightning shortly after Rubas’s goal. Even after play resumed, the Elis remained unable to find the back of the net.
“We came out strong against a tough opponent and grew together as a team at American,” Reese said. “Even though we had to play in the midst of a torrential downpour, we pushed though, worked together and cheered each other on.”
Villa was pleased with the way she and her fellow defenders battled against the Eagles. She added that the score was not indicative of the teams’ performance and the Bulldogs’ energy and defense made the matchup against American their best-played game yet.
Yale defender Kiwi Comizio ’18 agreed with Villa, adding that the team implemented their strategy and level of play from practice well.
“I think we played our best game so far [on Saturday], executing everything we worked on in practice with a high intensity,” Comizio said.
The Bulldogs will need to stay positive as they turn their attention to a tough upcoming two-game weekend.
Bryant University visits Johnson Field on Friday for a game that was originally scheduled to be played at Bryant but was recently moved to New Haven. The Bulldogs (1–5, 0–0 Metro Atlantic) will arrive at Yale having lost their last two games to two of Yale’s Ivy League rivals, Harvard and Brown. Harvard defeated Bryant 5–2 on Sept. 7, and five days later, Bryant trekked to Providence and lost in overtime to the Bears.
After the game versus Bryant, the Elis must face the daunting task of matching up against the No. 2 Syracuse Orange at home on Sunday.
Led by first team All-American forward and Syracuse’s 2015 Female Athlete of the Year Emma Russell, the Orange (5–0, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) will face No. 10 Boston College on Saturday before taking on Yale the next day. Syracuse has outscored its opponents 18–4 in this young season and will look to remain in top form against both B.C. and the Elis.
“Both Bryant and Syracuse will be strong opponents,” Villa said. “If — and when — we go into this weekend with a strong mentality and high spirit, we’ll be successful in our play.”
Yale hosts Bryant on Friday at 7 p.m. and Syracuse on Sunday at 2 p.m.