The Yale field hockey team came within minutes of upsetting a ranked Ivy foe for a second consecutive week, before falling victim to a late scoring surge.
Following last weekend’s heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 14 Harvard (8–2, 2–0 Ivy), the Bulldogs (5–4, 0–2) entered their match against No. 16 Princeton (5–5, 2–0) seeking both their first conference victory of the season and the opportunity to break a four-decade-long losing streak against the Tigers. The Elis let an early lead slip away in the last three minutes and fell 2–1 to Princeton, before bouncing back and annihilating Lehigh (2–9, 0–3 Patriot) 7–1 on Sunday.
“Princeton underestimated us at the beginning of the game, and we were able to score early and take the lead,” forward Carol Middough ’18 said. “Our defense and our goalie did a phenomenal job on Friday in keeping Princeton off the scoreboard for the majority of the game. When Princeton began hammering our defensive end, we just tried to play our game and get the ball out regardless.”
The Tigers played aggressively from the start — 42 seconds into the first half, Princeton took its first shot of the game, but Defending Ivy League Rookie of the Week Sydney Terroso ’21 turned it aside for the first of her ten saves in the game.
Two shots later, the Tigers found the back of the net first with a goal just four minutes into the game from Princeton rookie back Mary Kate Neff. The Tigers’ early lead didn’t last long, though. Three minutes after Neff’s goal, Middough intercepted a pass and backhanded the ball home to level the score at 1.
Princeton controlled the play, earning two penalty corners and firing two more shots on Terroso before Yale found its next opportunity 16 minutes into the half, a penalty corner taken by midfielder Imogen Davies ’21. The initial shot off the corner was saved by Princeton sophomore goalie Grace Baylis, but Davies scored the second goal of her career off the rebound to hand her team the lead.
Seventeen minutes into the first half, Yale held a one-goal advantage — a circumstance strikingly similar to last weekend’s 1–0 advantage 19 minutes into play against Harvard. For the remainder of the half, the Bulldogs retained their lead playing solid defense. Yale had no attempts on net, while Princeton took four more shots but did not score. The Tigers outshot the Elis 9–3 in the first half, but entered the locker room trailing 2–1.
The Tigers returned for the second half with increased offensive drive. The first 20 minutes of the second half saw the Bulldogs unable to generate opportunities, while Princeton took four penalty corners and nine shots. Yale managed to frustrate the Tigers’ efforts with three saves from Terroso and three blocks, but the team did not manage a shot of its own until an errant attempt 22 minutes into the game’s second stanza.
With eight minutes remaining and the score unchanged since Davies’ go-ahead goal in the first half, Princeton called a timeout. Following the timeout, the Tigers took two penalty corners, each followed by an unsuccessful shot from the team’s leading scorer, senior forward Ryan McCarthy. For the third time in less than two minutes, McCarthy shot off a penalty corner from sophomore midfielder Carlotta von Gierke. This time, however, with just under 3 minutes remaining on the clock, McCarthy’s shot found the back of the net and delivered a dramatic equalizer for the Tigers to tie the game up at 2–2.
In the final minute, Terroso denied three shots. But as the clock ran out, the Tigers gained one final penalty corner, again taken by von Gierke and followed by a shot from McCarthy. McCarthy’s attempt was initially blocked, but she found an immediate rebound and, at 70:00, delivered a buzzer-beating game winner. The Tigers outshot Yale 17–1 in the second half and 26–4 for the game.
“It was a very close game against Princeton, and this was because of how well we worked together as a team,” Terroso said. “Although it was a loss, it was a game that our team should be proud of.”
Looking to rebound from the last-second defeat, the Bulldogs looked confident and in control throughout Sunday’s matinee against Lehigh. Three minutes into play, forward Anissa Abboud ’21 scored her first goal of her career off a rebound from midfielder Holly Jackson ’20. One minute later, Middough scored with an assist from forward Bridget Condie ’20, prompting a Lehigh timeout.
The game lulled briefly before Davies gained a penalty corner for the Elis that resulted in Middough finding the back of the net 20 minutes into play with an assist from midfielder Marissa Medici ’19. One minute later, Middough completed the hat trick and extended the lead to 4–0, where it remained for the rest of the half.
Lehigh scored five minutes into the second half to breathe some life back into the game, but Yale responded by scoring three more times. The first came from midfielder Olivia Levieux ’21, followed by Middough’s fourth goal, this time off a Condie assist, and rounded out by a goal from Davies assisted by midfielder Katie Smith ’18. The game concluded 7–1, marking Yale’s highest scoring performance of the season thus far.
“We’re focused, we work as a team and we’re ready to take on the rest of the Ivies with the same level of play,” forward Brooke Reese ’19 said. “Even after a tough loss, our team comes out the next day ready to compete.”
Middough’s four goals against the Mountain Hawks bring her season total to 11.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org