While goalie Emilie Katz ’17 could not save the Yale field hockey team from a shutout defeat by Harvard on Friday, the Bulldogs nearly turned the weekend around when they returned home to rattle No. 18 Stanford’s confidence in the first half of a 3–1 loss.
Harvard (4–4, 1–0 Ivy) completed its fourth win against Yale (4–4, 0–1 Ivy) in as many years on Friday, beating the Bulldogs 2–0 in a well-worked game that saw the Crimson dominate both play and possession.
The Elis bounced back on Sunday in a valiant attempt against Stanford (3–4, 0–0 America East), with Bulldog forward Bridget Condie ’20 hammering in the game’s opening goal — the first of her career — off a penalty corner just 2:39 into the match. The Cardinal, though shaken in the first half by Yale’s quick offense, regrouped at half time and emerged with the two-point victory.
“We really stayed with the game plan throughout the 70 minutes,” head coach Pam Stuper said. “We [came] out strong, trying to do what we do best and trying to break up their play as much as we could.”
The Bulldogs implemented quick attacking play on Sunday against Stanford that was absent from their game against Harvard earlier in the weekend, stringing together their trademark quick short passes up the field. In the first half, Yale received six penalty corners, double Stanford’s total, and the Bulldogs scored their first goal off of the second corner.
Just over ten minutes later, Stanford balanced the scoreboard to tie the game at 1–1, barreling through the Elis’ defense to push the ball past Katz’s left shoe. Yale almost edged ahead again with less than five seconds to play, as a sweeping cross ball flew past the goal, but there was no player on the post to take the shot.
Katz made just one save in the first half, with a save percentage of 0.500, but the Cardinal came back after the break with a more determined and offense-oriented game plan that saw the team maintain more possession and fire in 14 shots.
Katz let in only two of Stanford’s total of 20 shots during the game. She maintains her place on the Ivy League leaderboards, ranked third in save percentage with a 0.746 and second in saves with 44.
“The first half, we dominated,” Stuper said. “We had the momentum and took advantage of it, and I think after halftime Stanford came back aiming to get more of the second half. Our fatigue played in a little bit then, as they were gaining momentum and we were [just] fighting through.”
The penalty corner count inverted during the second half, as the Cardinal upped its number to 14 corners from six in the first half and the Bulldog total dropped drastically from 12 in the first half to just five in the second.
Stanford capitalized on its squad’s speed and brute force, driving counter attacks and long swift passes around the Elis sticks. Yale’s defense was shaken by the Cardinal’s constant barrage of skilled play, but tried to maintain the tight marking and structured defensive play of the first half.
However, Stanford’s ambitious shooting materialized into two more goals, which even Katz couldn’t prevent.
The Bulldogs ended the day with a successful loss: In the set pieces, Stanford proved too difficult to defend against, but in attacking field play Yale managed to hold its own against a nationally ranked team.
Two days earlier, the Bulldogs traveled to Cambridge to take on rival Harvard in the Ivy League season opener. The Crimson dominated play from the beginning, as newcomer forward Bente Van Vlijmen dribbled through the defenders and scored just 31 seconds after the first whistle. Harvard led 2–0 at half time.
“They played to their strengths more than we did,” midfielder Marissa Medici ’19 said. “[They] basically shut down everything that was our strength.”
Fourteen of Harvard’s 51 penalty corners- — a disproportionately high 27 percent — in the Crimson’s eight games this season came from its encounter with the Bulldogs. On Friday, Yale received no penalty corners at all.
The Crimson shut down Yale’s short passing game, allowing the Bulldogs just one shot during the entire contest. The Elis’ only other opportunity to break onto the scoreboard came midway through the first half, as midfielder Lily Smith ’18 swept the ball into the goal. However, the score was disallowed as it was ruled that the shot came from outside the circle.
After the second whistle, the Elis attempted to make a comeback, stringing together series of passes intermittently throughout the second half. However, Yale seemed unable to find its players, as long balls cleared from the backline went unclaimed in the attack or ended up on Crimson sticks.
“Our quick attacking play [is our strength], and that didn’t really happen,” defender Holly Jackson ’20 said.
Katz had another brilliant game, denying Harvard 10 times and letting in only two goals. Crimson forward Maria Balleza was unable to contribute her customary goal — she had scored in each of Harvard’s last two games — to the Crimson tally, as Katz saved three consecutive penalty corners taken by Balleza.
Next weekend the Bulldogs take on their highest ranked opponent, No. 13 Princeton, which is currently riding a two-win streak.