Before taking on Quinnipiac on Sunday, the Yale field hockey team will look to break even in Ivy play this weekend by securing another conference win against Columbia.
The Bulldogs (6–8, 2–3 Ivy) and the Lions (7–7, 2–3) share a four-way tie for fourth place in Ivy rankings, as well as a one-win streak. Yale has beaten Columbia seven times in their past 11 encounters — although not since 2013 — with four of those wins coming in overtime. The Elis have also had mixed success against Quinnipiac (4–12, 3–3 Big East) in recent years, alternating victories since 2010.
“Our play is getting stronger,” Yale head coach Pam Stuper said. “Obviously, there are some areas that need improvement, but we’ve been working on them [this week], and hopefully it will all pay off.”
Both the Bulldog and Lion rosters boast Ivy League honorees this week, as Yale forward Allie Carrigan ’19 was named Rookie of the Week and Columbia’s Katie Ruesterholz earned Co-Player of the Week. Carrigan has started in all of the Elis’ conference games this season, scoring two of the Bulldogs’ 11 Ivy goals and notching five points. She tapped in the Bulldogs’ opening goal against Penn last Saturday, setting the scene for the Elis’ second Ancient Eight victory.
Ruesterholz, a senior, is the Lions’ all-time point leader with 11 goals this season and 41 over the four years that she has played for Columbia. The team’s previous point leader, Christina Freibott, claimed her spot as leader in Columbia’s game against Yale last year, which the Lions won 3–1.
The Bulldogs will look to forward Carol Middough ’18 to counter Ruesterholz’s offensive prowess, as Middough matches her with eight goals this season and a total of 21 career goals in the three years she has played for Yale.
“I think we just have to keep moving forward and focusing on our attack,” midfielder Marissa Medici ’19 said. “We need to tighten up our fundamentals in defense, make sure that we keep everything as tight as possible and keep focused on what we can control.”
Both Yale and Columbia enter the contest buoyed by a total of 10 goals each in their last three games and a win in their most recent games. However, the Bulldogs won two of those past three games, losing only to then-No. 1 UConn, while the Lions lost two to teams the Bulldogs have met in dramatic fashion over the course of the season.
Both the Elis and Columbia lost by a one-goal margin to Bucknell, although the Lions let in four goals in their encounter and the Bulldogs only surrendered one. In contrast, the Bulldogs clinched an overtime win against Penn, which dominated the Lions 4–1.
Columbia concedes on average 3.56 goals per game, about one goal more than Yale, which lets in 2.46 goals per game. Conversely, the Bulldogs are currently scoring at 2 goals per game, whereas the Lions score slightly more on average, with 2.77 goals per game.
“[Columbia] is a really important game because we really want to finish the season on a winning streak and end with a winning record,” defender Kiwi Comizio ’18. “Columbia is a good team, so getting the win on Saturday would mean so much for our progress in the Ivy as well as going into the game on Sunday.”
Quinnipiac is currently riding a two-game losing streak, but has scored just one goal more than Yale this season. Thirty-one of the 40 goals scored against the Bobcats came off of assists, which bodes well for the Bulldogs, who have scored 22 of their 28 goals this season off of assists.
Starting in all of the Bobcats games this season, forward Savanna Reilly has scored eight of Quinnipiac’s 29 goals and made the most assists for the team. She has also been instrumental in each of the Bobcats’ four wins, scoring and assisting in three. Reilly was named Offensive Player of the Week in the Big East Conference last week, and her teammate, goalkeeper Olivia Golini, received Defensive Player of the Week.
Eli netminder Emilie Katz ’17 places second for saves and third for save percentage in the Ivy League rankings. She was featured on the Ivy League Honor Roll this week for her sterling performance against Penn last Saturday.
The Bulldogs will face Columbia in their penultimate conference game this season on Johnson Field at 12 p.m. Saturday and will then take on Quinnipiac at 2 p.m. Sunday.