For three consecutive years, midfielder Nicole Wells ’16 and back Noelle Villa ’16 have ended the field hockey season with victories against Brown. On Saturday, Wells and Villa — the sole seniors on the roster — will attempt to close their careers with one last triumph over the Bears.
Yale (2–14, 0–6 Ivy), behind former captain and staff reporter for the News Wells and current captain Villa, takes on Brown (7–9, 1–5) in a battle between two schools at the bottom of the Ivy League standings.
“I think we have had a rough season thus far and to end on this high note would really mean a lot to everyone,” back Kiwi Comizio ’18 said. “Especially because we won this same game last year.”
The Bulldogs look to bounce back from two losses this past weekend, which extended the team’s losing streak to 12 games. Last Saturday, the Elis dropped a 3–1 decision to Columbia, and then fell 1–0 to Lafayette the next day in a defensive clash.
Led by midfielder Carol Middough ’18, the young Yale offense that has struggled much of the season has a chance to turn things around against a subpar Brown defense. The Bears are allowing 2.52 goals per contest, the fifth-most in the Ancient Eight. Brown has only shut out one team all season, with that performance coming last Sunday in a 3–0 victory over Patriot League opponent Lehigh.
Meanwhile, the Elis have failed to score in seven games this fall, and average less than one goal per game. Middough leads the team in goals scored with seven, which is half of the team’s overall total. She has also taken 62 shots, three times as many attempts as any other Yale player, and tied for second-most in the Ivy League.
The only other Yale player with multiple goals scored this year is Comizio, who has notched two goals this season on 15 shots. In last weekend’s pair of road contests, forward/midfielder Evagelia Toffoloni ’19 scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs, having found the back of the net against Columbia.
The Elis have been more active at the friendly confines of Johnson Field this season, which bodes well for increased scoring this weekend. Yale averages 11.7 shots per game at home as compared to just 7.1 shots per game on the road.
“Offensively this weekend, we will definitely be looking to continue our good passing from last weekend, but also working to get in our offensive circle more often and take more shots,” Comizio said.
Against Brown, the Bulldog defensive unit will be anchored by goalkeeper Emilie Katz ’17, who ranks second in all of Division I field hockey with 10.5 saves per game and is tied for sixth in the nation with a 0.787 save percentage. Having faced a staggering number of shots on goal, Katz has made 170 saves this season, while the second-ranked goalie in the Ivy League, Dartmouth’s Paige Duffy, has made 100 stops.
Katz, who has had to fend off the nation’s top two schools, Syracuse and Connecticut, earlier in the season, will face a less potent offense this weekend. Brown is ranked seventh in the Ivy League, ahead only of the Bulldogs, with an average of 1.72 goals per game.
This year’s meeting between the two schools bears striking similarities to last year’s matchup. Yale was also 2–14 overall and winless in Ivy League play entering action against Brown in 2014, but emerged victorious in a 3–2 overtime decision to extend its winning streak over the Bears to four.
“Last year, I remember we scored off of our corner unit, so we definitely would love to duplicate that aspect of our game, especially because we spend a lot of time working on our corners every day in practice,” Middough said.
Middough and Wells each beat the Brown goalie in the season-ending win a year ago.
Wells, a four-year starter and two-time All-Ivy second teamer, enters Saturday’s contest tied for 20th all-time in assists for Yale while fellow senior Villa will make her 50th career start for the Elis.
“For this last game against Brown, of course it would be great to end the season with a win,” Wells said. “If we can leave Johnson Field after having fought as hard as we could by playing good hockey then that would be a fine way to end the season for me.”
The opening pass back is scheduled for 1 p.m on Saturday.