The Yale field hockey team opened Ivy League play over the past two weeks with a pair of one-goal losses where the Bulldogs’ opponent came from behind in the final minutes. This weekend, with Cornell coming to town, the Elis themselves mounted a last minute comeback but still fell short for their third straight one-goal Ivy loss.
The Bulldogs (6–5, 0–3 Ivy) fell to Cornell (7–3, 1–2) on Saturday in the first in a string of three home games. Against a historically strong Big Red defense, Yale was kept off the scoreboard until five minutes before the game’s end. Although the Bulldogs found the back of the net twice in those final five minutes, the game as with a 3–2 loss. The Elis defeated Bryant 4–1 (3–11, 1–0 Northeast) the next afternoon, marking the third weekend in a row in which the Bulldogs have lost close first matches to Ivy foes before soundly defeating their second opponents.
“[In the last ten minutes] we were able to get in there,” head coach Pam Stuper said. “We opened up the field [and] we became much more dangerous and more threatening. That’s what happens when you close a gap, but those goals needed to happen earlier, with more opportunities.”
The Big Red limited Yale’s offensive opportunities early in the game. Although the Bulldogs took the first two shots of the first half, both were saved by Cornell goalie Maddie Henry. The Big Red responded with a penalty corner and three attempts in the next two minutes, all saved by rookie goalie Sydney Terroso ’21. Off a rebound from Terroso’s third save, however, Cornell forward Grace Royer found the back of the net 15 minutes into play to put the Big Red ahead.
Yale took just one other shot in the half, and it was blocked. While the Big Red outshot the Elis 13–3 for the half, Terroso made eight first-half saves to keep the scoreline at 1–0.
“Looking at the game, the team collectively was trying,” Stuper said. “But we had a hard time with things clicking today and really playing to our strengths as a team, and that’s what got us in trouble. Today was more of a day of being a little bit off.”
Returning from halftime, the Bulldogs again attacked early and took the first three shots of the half but failed to change the score. Nine minutes into the half, Cornell made its first attempt since halftime and scored on a ball that made its way from the stick of Big Red back Sam McILwrick straight inside the far post, widening the lead to 2–0. Yale responded with five shots and a penalty corner but could not convert.
Stuper called a timeout 17 minutes into the second half as the Big Red continued to fluster Yale. Just over a minute after play resumed, however, forward Krysten Mayers found the back off the net for Cornell to bring the scoreboard to 3–0.
But Yale’s play improved despite the seemingly insurmountable Cornell lead. Sixty-five minutes into play, Yale saw an opportunity in the form of a penalty corner. Off the corner from midfielder Imogen Davies ’21, forward Carol Middough ’18 took a first shot, saved by Henry, before Davies took the rebound and pushed the ball into the net to put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard at Johnson Field, with four minutes remaining.
The 65 minute marker saw a noticeable shift in momentum for the Elis; within a minute of Davies’ goal, Yale took two penalty corners and three shots.
But Cornell gained possession and the opportunity to widen the deficit again. With less than two minutes remaining, Mayers took the ball for the Big Red and drove it down the field. Terroso came out of the net to play her one-on-one. Mayers maneuvered past her and faced a wide open net before back Jackie Kisa ’19 charged back into position, diving to deny Mayers the shot with a spectacular defensive save.
The Bulldogs earned another penalty corner as time expired. With seconds left on the clock, Davies passed the ball to midfielder Marissa Medici ’19, who set up Kisa for the goal to pull Yale within one. But the last-second score was too little too late as the game finished 3–2.
The Bulldogs late spurt was reminiscent of No. 13 Harvard’s and No. 14 Princeton’s late offensive surges against Yale. But with Yale attempting the comeback this weekend, the Big Red’s lead proved too big.
On Sunday, Yale hosted Bryant and put its offense on display to earn a 4–1 victory. The Elis outshot their opponents 14–2 in the first half and 18–4 in the second to total 32 shots in the match. Yale took 13 penalty corners throughout the game and while holding Bryant blank in that category. Despite facing a weaker nonconference opponent, the Bulldogs did not stoop to Bryant’s level of play.
“Our mentality does not change from game to game,” forward Brooke Reese ’19 said. “We come out with the same intensity and focus every weekend.”
Yale’s first goal came just eight minutes into play from forward Bridget Condie ’20, with assists from Medici and Davies. The second goal came 22 minutes into play, this time from Davies, with an assist from Condie, to give the Bulldogs a 2–0 halftime lead.
The second half remained scoreless for the first 25 minutes until Bryant forward Alex Neumann scored to put her team on the board. Yale responded two minutes later with another goal from Condie and then, one minute after that, with a penalty corner and a goal scored by midfielder Holly Jackson ’20.
Yale’s next game will be at home against Dartmouth on Saturday at 12 p.m.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org