Courtesy of Yale Athletics

Last year, Quinnipiac broke the hearts of the Yale field hockey team on Bulldog Senior Day with a dramatic winning goal in overtime after overturning the Elis’ early 2–1 lead.

But this is not last year. Coming off a sublime offensive display in its 6–2 win over Sacred Heart, this Yale team will challenge Quinnipiac (0–4, 0–0 Big East) before heading to Hofstra (2–3, 0–0 Colonial) as the Bulldogs (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) attempt a 3–0 start for the first time since the 2010 season.

“Last year’s game against [Quinnipiac] was disappointing,” forward Carol Middough ’18 said. “Especially because it was a game we felt like we definitely could have won but unfortunately came up short. This year we have even more motivation to beat them because of that.”

Yale opened the season with a win over the Pioneers for the third straight season. Middough provided the driving force with a hat trick, but the Bulldogs received offensive contributions up and down the lineup, with four players scoring and two more adding assists.

Younger players in particular have played key roles for the Elis’ offense. First year midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 chalked up a pair of helpers, and has already taken a key role starting the Yale penalty corner routine. Sophomore forward Bridget Condie ’20 also opened her account for the year with a smart finish from distance against Sacred Heart, and she provides additional attacking depth up front. The contributions from these talented younger players will help Yale avoid dependence on Middough for goals.

At the other end, Sydney Terroso ’21 has stepped into goal in place of Emilie Katz ’17, last season’s Ivy League Defensive Player of the League. The netminder allowed a pair of goals in her first game, but the concessions did not mar a strong opening performance, where she made a number of solid saves.

“The first [collegiate] game was very exciting,” Terroso said. “I personally hold myself to a very high standard when it comes to my play. Emilie was a very talented goalie and I hope to continue this same level of play in goal.”

Quinnipiac has struggled in its early season play. The Bobcats opened the season with a pair of challenging road matchups against nationally ranked teams, but returned to Hamden with their tails between their legs after two thrashings. No. 11 Boston College shellacked them by a 6–1 final tally, and then-No. 24 Maine vanquished the Bobcats 3–1 in Orono.

Two subsequent home games did not go better for Quinnipiac, as Northeastern edged the Bobcats 2–1 then Holy Cross dealt them a 2–0 loss. The quartet of defeats ensures Quinnipiac will enter the game with an additional chip on its shoulder, beyond the fierce rivalry between the two teams.

The Bobcats have struggled to find their bite offensively, notching just three goals in their four losses. While they graduated top scorer Lauren Reilly, the team’s second-highest scorer, Dayna Barlow, returned only to struggle. No other Quinnipiac player has picked up the slack, and no Bobcat has more than one goal or one assist.

Defensively, Quinnipiac has been porous, allowing numerous chances to opposing attacks. Sophomore Livy Golini has retained her starting spot in net and despite allowing 13 goals, has raised her save percentage from last season. Gollini is saving 70 percent of the shots she has faced while allowing 3.25 goals a game, compared to last season when she saved 68.5 percent of the shots against her but allowed only 2.45 goals per game.

The defensive struggles in front of Golini will provide opportunities for a Yale attack that has already acquired a taste for goals and will look to continue to rack up nonconference victories before its Ivy League opener against Harvard on Sept. 23. A Bulldog success would bolster the senior class’ record against Quinnipiac to an even 2–2.

On Sunday, Yale travels to Long Island to take on a struggling Hofstra team that, despite a flawless home record, has dropped all three away matches this season. The Pride have relied on leading scorers midfielder Philline de Wolf and forward/midfielder Madison Suave this season, who each have three goals and an assist over five games — a stat line that Middough matched in the Bulldogs’ season opener. Although Yale took last year’s game 4–2, Hofstra has defeated the Blue in four of their last five meetings.

“To start off the season with two wins would be a huge confidence booster for the team,” Middough said. “[A win would be] a testament to the hard work we all put in during preseason and over the summer.”

The Elis will play Quinnipiac at 3 p.m. on Friday and Hofstra at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Chris | @chrisbracken16