It took last year’s Yale field hockey team 17 trips to the field to capture its third win of the 2015 season, a 6–2 showing over Brown in its final game. Thanks to a balanced attack, near-infallible defense and late game heroics this past weekend, the Bulldogs are now on the cusp of a third victory just days into the 2016 season.
The Elis (2–0, 0–0 Ivy) opened their season on Saturday with a defensive-minded 2–0 triumph against visiting Sacred Heart, holding the Pioneers without a single shot on goal at Johnson Field. Two days later in Rhode Island, Yale spoiled Bryant’s home opener with a 2–1 win in which forward Carol Middough ’18 knocked home her first goal of the season in overtime to send the Elis back to New Haven undefeated.
In total, four different Bulldogs each scored a goal on the weekend, already putting a dent in the tally of eight Yale players who scored last year.
“Our offensive production from the past weekend has shown that we have plenty of different players who are able to finish in the circle,” Middough said. “In the future, we are looking to obviously score even more goals, but I think offensively, this weekend was a great start.”
Yale entered the weekend having won eight of its last nine matchups against Sacred Heart (0–4, 0–0 NEC) and made seemingly quick work of its neighbor from Fairfield on Saturday. The Bulldogs took advantage of their third penalty-corner opportunity just under 14 minutes into the game, when forward Camille Scheyer ’20 received a pass from defender Kiwi Comizio ’18 and fired a strike past the Pioneer goalkeeper for her first career goal.
The Bulldogs struck again in enemy territory shortly after taking that 1–0 lead. With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, forward Bridget Condie ’20 brought the ball in bounds and swiftly evaded a Sacred Heart defender before pushing the ball into a commotion in front of the net, where forward Brooke Reese ’19 knocked in the second goal of the afternoon for Yale.
The 2–0 cushion was more than enough for the Bulldogs, who carried a 10–0 shot advantage into halftime and held the Pioneers without a shot for over an hour of playing time. Sacred Heart’s two offensive efforts were deflected before ever reaching first-team All-Ivy Yale goalkeeper Emilie Katz ’17.
“Everyone in the backfield has really stepped up this year to take ownership,” forward Alyssa Weiss ’17 said of the defense. “Kiwi Comizio, [captain] Steffi Katz ’17, Holly Jackson ’20 and Marissa Medici ’19 are just a few of our most solid defenders who we can count on. We’re working on maintaining our structure to keep up our defense.”
Monday’s matinee against Bryant (0–4, 0–0 NEC) proved to be far more dramatic than the Elis’ season opener. While both teams recorded two shots in the opening minutes of the game, it was a pair of Yale forwards who hit pay dirt first, as Danee Fitzgerald ’17 assisted Allie Carrigan ’19 amidst a scramble of players.
Though Bryant senior Victoria Danby, responsible for all but one of the team’s first-half shots, pestered Katz throughout the opening 35 minutes, it was freshman Floor van Dommelen who equalized the game in the second half for the Bulldogs in black and gold. Yale piled on 12 more shots in the remaining half hour of regulation, but could not find a way past Bryant goalkeeper Marissa Elizardo.
The Elis, however, were quick to break through in the overtime period, finding Middough on their ninth penalty corner of the game. The New Jersey native, who led the team in scoring in 2015 and was named to the All-Ivy Second Team, recorded her first goal of 2016 to lock up the 2–1 victory for Yale.
“I thought we have been able to create so many opportunities on the offensive end thus far because we are working well together on passing sequences and making better use of the space and our skills,” Comizio said. “We were all really happy with the level of play we were able to achieve, but we definitely are looking to improve on capitalizing in the circle and defensive pressure going forward.”
Yale will look to defend its unbeaten start against Lafayette and Hofstra this weekend. The Bulldogs have not begun a season 3–0 since 2010, and have not enjoyed a three-game winning streak since winning seven in a row at the conclusion of their 2011 Ivy League championship campaign.