Sarah Geach

A bitter overtime loss to Quinnipiac on Sunday tainted the Yale field hockey team’s shutout success against Columbia the day before.

The Bulldogs (7–9, 3–3 Ivy) surged to their third consecutive Ivy League victory when they beat the Lions (8–8, 2–4) 2–0 at Johnson Field on Saturday. The following day, Yale came tantalizingly close to another win but could not outlast the Bobcats (5–13, 3–4 Big East) in a 3–2 overtime defeat. While the loss on Sunday precludes the Elis from finishing their overall season at 0.500, a winning Ivy campaign still remains possible as the Bulldogs wrap up their season against Brown (7–9, 2–4).

“[The win against Columbia] was a great game,” forward Carol Middough ’18 said. “But [the loss to Quinnipiac] was really frustrating.”

Possession in the first half of the matchup with the Lions was relatively even, with both sides taking just four shots each in the entire 35 minutes. The shot-taking was well distributed amongst the Eli attackers, as each shot came from a different player.

However, with just over five minutes to play in the half, forward Bridget Condie ’20 managed to convert one of these shots into a goal. Middough drove the ball to the baseline and then switched it back to Condie, who used a reverse stick shot to send the ball past Lion goalkeeper Kendall Kuntz and into the net. This gave the Elis a 1–0 lead which they maintained for the rest of the half.

The Bulldogs amped up the pace in the second half, firing in 14 shots, including three in the first four minutes. The increased momentum allowed Yale more time in the circle, which in turn put pressure on the Columbia defense, which managed to hold out against the Elis. The Bulldogs took advantage of their possession and momentum by drawing four penalty corners in the half, but were incapable of converting any of these into goals.

“I think everyone was doing really well with the fundamentals of defense, footwork and body positioning,” midfielder Kiwi Comizio ’18 said. “We also kept the ball out of our circle and did a good job of generating counterattack, so we kept it on offense for the most part.”

The Lions’ defense held out until Middough scored with under three minutes to play, giving the Bulldogs their second tally of the game. Middough’s ninth goal of the season matched her season total from last year and brought her career total to 47 in the 22 games she has played for Yale. The goal was assisted by Comizio, who leads the Bulldogs with eight assists this season.

Despite Yale’s attack, its defense was called upon to save the day throughout the contest. Goalkeeper Emilie Katz ’17 made four saves and kept every shot out of goal, which led the Bulldogs to their second shutout of the season. Katz’ save percentage of 0.743 currently ranks third in the Ivy League standings.

“[Katz] is always outstanding,” head coach Pam Stuper said following last weekend’s overtime win against Penn. “She’s been a solid goalkeeper for us her entire time here at Yale. I think she does an outstanding job handling some one-on-ones, some numbers situations, and playing really aggressively.”

But even the senior could not save the Bulldogs from defeat at the hands of Quinnipiac on Sunday. The Bobcats opened the scoring with a lightning-fast counterattack, racing down the field after an Eli penalty corner. Quinnipiac forward Valerie Perkins dummied to the left, forcing Katz to make a dive. She then pulled right and sent the ball safely into the goal, giving Quinnipiac the lead.

Katz was only called upon for five saves in the entire contest, as the Bobcats totaled eight shots on goal.

Forward Danee Fitzgerald ’17 starred for the Bulldogs by scoring the catch-up goal 27 seconds after Quinnipiac broke onto the scoreboard. Fitzgerald took just two shots in the game, but both were on target, and one found the back of the net. Forward Brooke Reese ’19 added to the Yale tally three minutes later with a magnificent reverse-stick swing with which she swatted the ball out the air and down into the goal off a penalty-corner rebound.

The Bobcats retaliated in the second half with an early equalizing goal, but the rest of the period descended from the quick, physical play of the first. The final 35 minutes were a melee of changes of possession, messy passing and dangerous play which resulted in green cards for each team. The Elis rallied towards the end of the half, seeking to avoid overtime in the pouring rain. With less than 10 seconds on the clock, midfielder Holly Jackson ’20 drew her fourth penalty corner of the game, giving the Bulldogs a final chance to break the tie and win the game. Middough took the strike and, although she had time to complete her swing, was unable to direct it perfectly toward the goal. The ball flew by the left-hand post, missing by mere inches.

Although both teams had ample opportunity to score in overtime play, it was Quinnipiac that emerged victorious as forward Dayna Barlow scored off her third-chance shot at Katz in the third minute of overtime.

“Today’s match will make us super determined all week in practice,” Jackson said. “We want to ensure we are as well prepared as we can be to bounce back and finish the season with a win.”

The Bulldogs will play their final game of the season next weekend when they travel to Providence to take on Brown in search of their fourth straight conference win.