After failing to complete a comeback from three goals behind Penn on Saturday, the Yale field hockey team saw a 1–0 lead slip away on Sunday to Bucknell, conceding four unanswered goals to cap off a disappointing weekend of action.
The Elis (2–12, 0–5 Ivy) fell 4–2 at Penn (12–2, 4–1) before ending up on the wrong end of a 4–1 scoreline against Bucknell (8–9, 3–2 Patriot). In each contest, Yale saw itself outshot — dramatically so against Penn.
The Quakers attempted 26 shots, 15 of which were on target, as compared to just eight Yale shot attempts, with five of those ending up on target.
“For the amount of shots we get, we are scoring goals. We are just not getting enough opportunities on shots,” head coach Pam Stuper said. “You shoot enough and they go in.”
Tasked with an explosive Penn opponent, the highest-scoring team in the Ivy League, two first-half goals extended a streak of four Ivy contests in which the Elis entered halftime facing a deficit.
When Penn found the back of the net once more, barely more than two minutes into the second half, Yale’s hopes for its first Ancient Eight win of the season seemed slim. However, a six-minute stretch soon thereafter shifted the momentum in the visiting Bulldogs’ favor.
Forward/midfielder Carol Middough ’18 notched her team-leading seventh goal of the season at the 42:50 mark off an assist from midfielder Nicole Wells ’16 on a penalty corner. Shortly following the goal, Middough helped set up Yale’s second strike of the game as her shot was tipped in by back Kiwi Comizio ’18, her second goal in as many games.
Yale’s rally fizzled from that point forward, and a Penn goal less than seven minutes later provided some valuable insurance to the Quakers as the two-goal gap would last through the final whistle.
Hoping to salvage the weekend against the Bison, Yale’s afternoon started off in promising fashion. Ultimately though, a 1–0 lead over its Patriot League foe was not enough for victory.
“It was a disappointing loss, no question,” Stuper said. “It was an opportunity we had to try and win, and to take a 4–1 loss is really disappointing.”
Despite a scoreless first half, the period was still full of opportunities for each side. Together, the teams accrued 17 shots in the first half — 12 to five in Bucknell’s favor. Bulldog goalie Emilie Katz ’17, second in the nation in saves, made several highlight reel-worthy stops in the half including a diving block in the ninth minute.
Katz delivered multiple sliding-kick saves throughout the period and also turned away Bucknell senior and the Patriot League’s leading goal scorer Kiersten Sydnor on a wide-open break away.
Early in the second half, it was Yale that earned a promising opportunity at the net. On Yale’s third corner of the afternoon, Middough unleashed a shot, which Bucknell goalie Emily Flinn saved. But forward/midfielder Evagelia Toffoloni ’19 was positioned perfectly for the rebound, and slipped the ball around Flinn to midfielder/back Marissa Medici ’19 who smacked it home to take the lead and earn her first career goal.
“It felt great to score my first collegiate goal,” Medici said. “There honestly wasn’t much to be done on my part besides sweep the ball in. Eva gave a great ball past the keeper and I was just there to touch it past the last defender’s stick.”
For several minutes after that goal, Yale was able to maintain steady pressure in hopes of building a cushion. However, Yale’s attack never broke through in Bucknell’s final third, a fact Stuper addressed.
“We played well up until our attacking 20,” Stuper said. “But we just can’t create enough.”
As the second half wore on, the tides turned rapidly. Despite Katz’s impressive play, Bucknell scored two goals in quick succession. The first goal came after Comizio received a green card, leaving Yale with only nine field players. Bucknell’s Abby Watson scored the tying goal and the next came from Sydnor less than six minutes later, the first of three straight for the senior.
Down 2–1 with seven minutes left, Stuper called a timeout, hoping to rally her team and to mount a late-game comeback. Instead, the opposite happened.
Minutes after the timeout, Sydnor scored her second goal on a penalty corner. And then with less than a minute left in the game, she completed her first career hat trick off a give-and-go with teammate Abby Watson.
“Typically when I can call a timeout, we regroup, there’s a lot of energy [and] we get back on the field,” Stuper said. “But I don’t think we had any other shot after the timeout [this time].”
Stuper explained that each of the goals was a result of a defensive breakdown in situations they have practiced, but none were the fault of her goalkeeper, Katz.
Katz remains positive despite the plethora of shots she has had to fend off this season. She has made 156 saves thus far, while the next most saves in the Ivy League belongs to Dartmouth’s Paige Duffy, who has saved 86 shots.
“I try to walk away from each game knowing that maybe I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome, but I gave everything I had, and I made the saves I could make, and they really had to earn their goals.” Katz said.
The Elis travel to the Big Apple to try and earn their first Ivy League victory against Columbia at 1 p.m. this Saturday, before visiting Lafayette on Sunday in Pennsylvania.