The Yale field hockey squad entered arguably its toughest weekend so far this season — looking to snap a three-game losing streak against two of the country’s premier teams.
But for the second week in a row, head coach Pamela Stuper’s team went winless. Yale (2–7, 0–2 Ivy) fell at No. 20 Princeton 4–0 on Saturday before suffering an 8–0 defeat Sunday in New Haven versus two-time defending national champions Connecticut (11–0, 1–0 Big East), the No. 1 team in the nation.
“The latest results do not rightly portray our team’s improvement,” said midfielder Nicole Wells ’16, a staff reporter for the News. “We are going to take the lessons we have learned this weekend and look to get some more wins.”
First on Yale’s slate was Princeton (5–4, 2–0), a particularly formidable Ivy foe. Though the match was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, nonstop rain forced officials to push the game to Saturday.
With Emilie Katz ’17 in goal and defenders Noelle Villa ’16 and Steffi Katz ’17 back from injury, the Bulldogs held a prolific Princeton offense scoreless for nearly 18 minutes. But sophomore striker Ryan McCarthy put the Tigers ahead at the 17:40 mark. Senior Maddie Copeland quickly followed suit, scoring just over a minute later. In a matter of 65 seconds, Yale faced a 2–0 deficit and the Elis were unable to respond. McCarthy and Copeland — who have combined for 13 goals in Princeton’s first nine games — tacked on one more goal apiece in the second half. Princeton protected its home field and held on for a 4–0 victory.
“Princeton is always a good, well-coached team,” Yale forward Alyssa Weiss ’17 said. “[The Tigers have] a lot of skill and team cohesion.”
Without much time to regroup, Yale traveled home and turned its attention to in-state powerhouse Connecticut. Undefeated thus far, the top-ranked Huskies presented an enormous challenge to a Bulldogs team desperate for a win.
UConn has seemed invincible this season, outscoring its opponents 72–5 through 11 games. The unanimously top-ranked team in the land is led by sophomore forward Charlotte Veitner, a native of Dusseldorf, Germany. Veitner leads the nation in goals with 19 in nine games and is second in points per game at 4.78.
In addition, Veitner’s Huskies flaunt an average margin of victory of 5.44 goals per game, nearly double that of the next team in the category, Syracuse.
Sunday was a continuation of Connecticut’s success in every facet of the game. Sophomore forward/midfielder Casey Umstead got the scoring started for the Huskies just three minutes into the day, and Connecticut went on to score four goals in both halves. Veitner tallied four goals, and Amelia Iacobucci, Anna Middendorf and Kendall Youngblood each contributed goals of their own.
Emilie Katz saved 12 of UConn’s 22 shots on goal, and backs Jackie Kisa ’19 and Nikoletta Toffoloni ’19 picked up defensive saves, but the Huskies’ attack force proved to be too much for Yale’s defense, despite the boost received by the returns of Villa and Steffi Katz.
Nina Klein, the Huskies’ redshirt sophomore keeper, did not have a very eventful day. The Connecticut defense kept Yale at bay, allowing the Elis to get off just two shots on goal and five shots total.
The Elis knew what they were coming up against on Sunday.
“UConn has won the national championship for the last two years,” Weiss said. “We expected them to be good and they were.”
Stuper’s players have done their best to stay positive during the five-game losing skid. Wells, who captained the team last season, is determined to turn things around.
“Recently, we have been challenged by some tough and powerful teams,” Wells said. “We play every out-of-league contest to prepare ourselves for Ivy League competition.”
Yale will welcome another fellow Ivy opponent, as well as its third top-10 ranked program of the season, as it seeks to get back in the win column.
On Saturday at noon, Cornell (5–4, 1–1) visits on the heels of a 5–2 handling of Columbia.
Sunday will present yet another big-time test for the Bulldogs when No. 6 Albany (9–1, 2–0 America East) takes the turf at Johnson Field, led by Paula Heuser, the current NCAA Division I active leader in career points and goals.
The UConn contest was one of four consecutive home games for the Bulldogs, who remain in New Haven until Oct. 24.