Jilly Mehlman

After three weekends of tight games resulting in heartbreaking defeats, the Yale field hockey team secured its first Ivy win of the season with a decisive home victory against Dartmouth.

The Elis (7–5, 1–3 Ivy) dropped each of their first three conference matches by a single goal. In those games, against No. 13 Harvard, No. 14 Princeton and Cornell, the Bulldogs seemed within reach of victory but were crippled by a failure to produce offensive opportunities. Against the Big Green (4–7, 1–3), however, Yale burst out to a strong start and never looked back, in large part due to the stellar performance of forward Carol Middough ’18, who netted her second hat trick in the last four matches to lead the way in the Bulldogs’ 5–2 win.

“This was the first game where we didn’t have the pressure of squaring up against a powerhouse like Harvard or Princeton, yet still played like they were on the other half of the field” back Jackie Kisa ’19 said. “We lost that urgency during our game against Cornell, but against Dartmouth we kept a high level of play despite the lower-ranked opponent. This showed on the scoreboard and in the control of the game.”

This weekend marked the first time the Elis have played just one match since the team’s season opener against Sacred Heart on the first Saturday of September. The Bulldogs have emerged from each of those two-game weekends with a split decision. In each of the last three weeks, Yale narrowly fell in its first match against an Ivy foe before handily defeating a non-conference opponent.

The Elis’ recent history against the Big Green gave the team reason for optimism. Last year, in the meeting of the two then-winless teams, the Bulldogs generated their best offensive output in five years to vanquish Dartmouth 7–4 in Hanover. This year, the Elis entered the match in similar straits, with no conference victories while Dartmouth had one overtime win over Brown.

Looking for a repeat of last year’s dominant performance, the Bulldogs controlled the game early and never relinquished their lead. The first attempt of the game came three minutes in off the stick of Yale midfielder Lily Smith ’18. Although Smith’s shot flashed wide, it set the tone of the game. Seven minutes into the first half, Middough, positioned directly in front of the goal, received a pass from rookie midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 and knocked the ball in to hand the Elis the lead.

Yale continued to press offensively, but two minutes after Middough’s goal, Dartmouth gained the first penalty corner of the game and an opportunity to equalize. Rookie goalie Sydney Terroso ’21 made her first save of the day to keep the Big Green off the scoreboard.

The next ten minutes saw the Big Green starved of possession; the Elis took two more shots before gaining a penalty corner 19 minutes into the half. Davies inserted the ball to Middough, who directed the ball toward the net before Smith finished the shot and widened the Bulldogs’ advantage to 2–0.

Dartmouth made another attempt, sandwiched by two Middough shots, before it found the back of the net. With two minutes remaining on the clock in the first half, the Big Green bit into Yale’s lead with a goal from forward Carmen Braceras.

The Bulldogs were not content to let the lead stay at one for long. Less than a minute after halftime, Middough took the ball and, driving through three Dartmouth defenders, scored again to bring the scoreboard to 3–1.

Ten minutes into the second half, Dartmouth gained four consecutive penalty corners, but did not get a shot off until the fourth, which the Elis blocked. Off the rebound, however, defender Katie Persin fired home a shot to narrow Yale’s lead to 3–2.

Again, the Bulldogs responded quickly. Fifteen seconds after Persin’s goal, forward Brooke Reese ’19 shot at the Big Green net, forcing Dartmouth goalie Emily Wechsler into a save. Forward Camille Scheyer ’20 tapped home the rebound to widen the lead to two again.

“We connected really well with one another all over the field for the entirety of the game on Saturday,” Middough said. “That’s something we’ve been striving to bring to every game, and I think it showed against Dartmouth.”

Scheyer’s goal was followed by Yale’s continued control, resulting in more offensive opportunities. The Bulldogs earned three more penalty corners and took six more shots before Dartmouth began an offensive spurt with just under nine minutes on the clock, earning a pair of penalty corners. Off the first, the Big Green managed just one blocked shot. But off the second, Dartmouth took three shots, only to see Terroso to come up with three clutch saves to preserve the Eli lead.

The Bulldogs resumed their barrage with a penalty corner and two more Middough attempts, before Yale gained another penalty corner with five minutes left on the clock. Assisted by Davies and rookie forward Sarah King ’21, Middough drilled in a third goal to complete her hat trick and bring the final score to 5–2.

Terroso totalled five saves and the Bulldogs outshot the Big Green 23–13. Despite Dartmouth having the slight advantage in penalty corners, totalling seven to Yale’s six, the Elis were more ruthless with their finishing.

“We executed our game plan and had a solid week of practices that prepared us very well for Dartmouth,” midfielder Marissa Medici ’20 said. “This game was different in that we capitalized on our opportunities, played consistent defense and most importantly stayed together as a team.”

Middough’s hat trick is the third of her career and her second in the last four games. She has been the team’s top scorer since her sophomore season and is currently third on Yale’s career goals list. With just five games remaining in her stellar career, she leads the Bulldogs with 14 goals this season.

The last Yale player who recorded three hat tricks in a single season was Ashley McCauley ’10 in the fall of 2009.

Angela Xiao | angela.xiao@yale.edu