The Yale field hockey team upset No. 23 UMass 1–0 in compelling fashion on Sunday, defeating a ranked opponent for the first time since 2011. But the Bulldogs found themselves in an uncharacteristically offensively-stunted game against Penn on Friday.
Although the Elis (8–6, 1–4 Ivy) opened conference play with three one-goal losses against No. 15 Harvard, No. 14 Princeton and Cornell, the Bulldogs entered the second half of the Ivy season with a dominant 5–2 victory against the Big Green at home. Last weekend’s match against Dartmouth displayed the extent of what Yale can produce when the team clicks, but the Bulldogs were unable to replicate that same tightness and consistency against the Quakers (8–6, 3–2 Ivy) and fell 1–0. However, the Elis rebounded on Sunday with the shutout win over the Minutewomen (11–7, 5–2 Atlantic 10).
“We were definitely a little off when we played Penn,” forward Carol Middough ’18 said. “To come back and beat UMass just continues to reflect the type of team we have been all season. We haven’t let these frustrating Ivy losses get us down.”
Entering the game, Middough, who netted a hat trick against the Big Green, led the Ivy League in both goals scored and shots taken. But against Penn, Middough and company were kept off the scoreboard and limited to fewer-than-normal attempts.
The Quakers seized the initiative from the opening strokes, mounting an offensive barrage. Four minutes into play, Penn took the first shot of the game and forced rookie goalie Sydney Terroso to make her first save and keep the game scoreless. Two minutes later, the Quakers gained the first penalty corner but failed to convert. Penn took another shot in the following minute that soared past the net before a fourth attempt that resulted in Terroso’s second save in the first ten minutes of the half.
In the 24th minute, Penn created its first attempt since the opening sequence and found the back of the net from the stick of forward Sofia Palacio, who dribbled in and out of the circle before slotting home, to bring the scoreboard to 1–0.
The Quakers returned for the second half in the same fashion as they opened the first, aggressively taking early offensive opportunities. Against Penn’s unrelenting offenses, the Bulldog defense, anchored by Terroso, who owns the second highest save percentage in the Ivy League, remained up to the challenge. Two minutes into the half, the Quakers attempted to widen their lead and were met by a Terroso save.
Yet, not even a solid defense could not reverse the Quaker lead; victory required offensive output. Yale returned to offense with a series of frustratingly missed opportunities, beginning with an errant shot from forward Camille Scheyer ’20, followed by three corners, two Middough shots, blocked and then saved, and a shot from Scheyer met by a save from Penn goalkeeper Ava Rosati to keep Yale off the scoreboard.
With just under seven minutes remaining on the game clock, Yale gained a pair of penalty corners, but the resulting efforts were blocked by the Quaker defense. In the final seconds, Yale gained possession of the ball again with the chance to force the game into overtime. But, in an end consistent with the rest of the match, the Bulldogs could not get into the circle and produce an offensive opportunity.
The game ended with a 1–0 victory for Penn, despite the Bulldogs outshooting the Quakers by one in the second half and owning a 7–3 advantage in penalty corners throughout the game.
Two days later in the game against UMass, the Elis entered as underdogs hungry for a win. Although the Bulldogs were outshot 16–8 and the Minutewomen had a 7–2 advantage in penalty corners, Yale fought its way to victory by holding onto a goal scored 13 minutes into the first half by rookie midfielder Olivia Levieux ’21. The first year received a pass from Middough after her teammate dribbled the ball down the field before finishing coolly to frustrate a strong UMass squad.
Six Eli players made attempts on the Minutewomen goal. Levieux scored on her first and only attempt of the match with a turn-around shot that trickled past UMass goalie Emily Hazard, marking the second goal of Levieux’s career.
The Minutewomen were increasingly frustrated by Yale’s defense. Terroso led the way in keeping UMass off the scoreboard with nine saves, and the defense blocked several more critical shots in front of her. With five minutes remaining on the game clock, Massachusetts took a penalty corner that made it into the Yale goal, seemingly tying up the match. But, the referees waved off the goal, ruling that the shot was dangerous, restoring Yale’s lead.
After the disallowed goal, UMass called a timeout, during which it pulled its goalie for another field player. In Yale’s Ivy opener against Harvard, the Crimson, similarly down 0–1, pulled its goalie for a field player with five minutes remaining. Harvard scored in those final minutes, and forced play into overtime where it devastated Yale with one more goal to secure a 2–1 overtime victory.
“We definitely felt more prepared this game for the same scenario that happened when we played Harvard,” Middough said. “We stayed calm and poised in our backfield even when UMass drew a corner within the final minute.”
This time, the Bulldogs refused to let history repeat. The Minutewomen did not get an offensive opportunity until just 45 seconds remained on the clock, when they earned a final penalty corner and one last attempt on the goal. To conclude the team effort in fending off its ranked opponent, Yale blocked the shot to cap the 1–0 upset.
Four Yale first years have scored for the team this season.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org