With a record-breaking 7–4 victory over Dartmouth, the Yale field hockey team has finally emerged from its five-game losing streak, earning its first Ivy League win over Dartmouth in the process.
The Bulldogs (5–7, 1–3 Ivy) dominated the Big Green (3–9, 0–4) in Hanover on Saturday as they took control of the ball and fired in six goals in the first half alone. However, the Elis fared nowhere near as well against No. 1 Connecticut (15–0, 5–0 Big East), falling 8–1 to the Huskies, who stopped the majority of the Elis’ goal-scoring plays from the day before.
“I think we were optimistic going in [to the Dartmouth game] — we knew this was going to be a make-it-or-break-it game,” defender Kiwi Comizio ’18 said. “We worked on fundamentals all week and then going through we knew what we were supposed to do, just try and put a full 70 minutes together.”
The seven-goal tally is the Bulldog’s highest since 2011, when they annihilated Brown 7–0 to win the Ivy League championship. Current co-leaders Harvard (8–4, 4–0) and Princeton (9–5, 4–0) would have to lose all three of their remaining conference games by a wide margin and the Elis would have to win all of theirs by a similar amount in order for Yale to have a chance at reclaiming the title.
Although it is unlikely that the Bulldogs will take the conference, they no longer sit at the bottom of the Ivy rankings and will look to the win as a positive going into their next game — against Penn (9–4, 3–1) — next weekend.
The Bulldogs blazed onto the field against Dartmouth with a determined intensity, firing a barrage of shots early on in the game. This led to three goals in just 14 minutes, reminiscent of the Yale victory over Hofstra earlier in the season. Even last year’s 6–2 win against Brown did not match this offensive power, as only four goals were scored in the first half of that contest and only one of those within the first 14 minutes.
Yale’s goals on Saturday were distributed evenly among the forwards, as Carol Middough ’18, Danee Fitzgerald ’17, Brooke Reese ’19 and Allie Carrigan ’19 claimed one goal each. Katie Smith ’18 broke her scoreless season with two goals after being moved up to forward from the midfield. Back Jackie Kisa ’19 also scored a goal, the first of her Yale career.
“It was pretty awesome to score two goals,” Smith said. “I haven’t played forward since last year, so when [head coach Pam Stuper] put me up there, I felt like it was going to be different. I just went with it and did my best.”
Although forward Bridget Condie ’20 did not score in the matchup, she successfully drew six of the Bulldogs’ eight penalty corners and took one-third of all Yale’s shots. Comizio added two assists to reach seven total this season, which places her in second in assists in the Ivy League rankings. Condie is close behind with five.
Starting every game this season, Condie has accumulated the highest number of points out of the six freshmen on the Eli roster. She has also contributed immensely to the Bulldogs’ offensive momentum, emulating Middough’s goal-hungry determination as evidenced by her 50 career shots, just seven less than Middough’s 57 and 34 more than third-place Fitzgerald.
“We’re so lucky to have such a talented freshman class,” forward Alyssa Weiss ’17 said. “Bridget’s play-making ability and play in the midfield is key in setting up our game, and Holly [Jackson ’20] is the best block tackler I’ve ever seen.”
Comizio echoed these sentiments, saying that she was impressed by the chemistry between the returning players and the freshman class, acknowledging that the team was better on the field because of the way they interact off of it.
The Bulldogs will try to repeat their success against Dartmouth this weekend as they return home to face Penn after four games on the road. The Quakers boast a similar freshman powerhouse in forward Alexa Schneck, who was named Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Week last Monday and made it onto the honor roll for this week.
Schneck has scored three goals so far this season, all of them considered game-winning tallies. But although her shots on goal percentage is marginally higher than Condie’s, Condie has almost doubled Schneck’s total number of shots.
Alexa Hoover, another Quaker named to the honor roll this week, has taken 0.374 percent of all the Quakers’ shots this season, and just over half of the shots she takes are on goal. Middough’s 15 points leads the Bulldogs’ tally but Hoover stands far above her with 24 points.
Hoover was also instrumental in the Quakers’ victory over the Bulldogs last year, as she contributed two assists and a goal to the Penn 4–2 win.
“We’re focused on sticking to our game plan this weekend,” Middough said. “Obviously, Hoover is a dangerous forward, but we have confidence in our defense to handle the situation. This week at practice we focused on staying loose and relaxed, because that’s when we play our best hockey.”
The Bulldogs will look to repeat their Ivy success when they welcome Penn to Johnson Field on Saturday at 12 p.m.