A pair of closely contested games resulted in heartbreak for the Yale field hockey team this weekend, as the Elis fell by one goal each in contests against Columbia and Bucknell.
In their final double-header weekend of the season, the Bulldogs (8–8, 1–5 Ivy) fought hard against Columbia (9–7, 4–2 Ivy) and Bucknell (9–9, 3–3 Patriot League). But unlike their previous weekend splits, the Elis walked away with a pair of losses that drops their record on the season to .500 with just one match remaining. Despite last weekend’s 1–0 upset of then-No. 23 Massachusetts, Yale was unable to carry its winning momentum into a back-and-forth game with the Lions that ended 5–4 in overtime. The loss marked the fifth time in six conference games in which the Elis have fallen by a lone goal. The next day, the Bison held off the Bulldogs with a pair of goals early in the second half to overcome the Elis’ first-half lead and notched a 3–2 victory.
“Our disappointing loss on Saturday and the harsh weather on Sunday made the game against Bucknell all that more difficult for us to handle,” forward Carol Middough ’18 said. “Unfortunately, Bucknell was able to capitalize on the moments where our mental and physical fatigue caught up with us.”
Until the Lions found the back of the net in overtime, at no point in the game on Saturday did an outcome seem certain. Although Yale has seen its fair share of one-goal losses, many of them were the result of an inability either to overcome its opponents’ early lead or to hold onto a lead of its own. However, on Saturday, the two teams traded goals throughout the 70-minute game and then forced play into the full 15 minutes of overtime before the Lions emerged victorious.
The first goal of the match came with a hard Columbia shot from the circle after 18 minutes of play. The Lions’ lead would last just 40 seconds — Yale responded with a goal from midfielder Lily Smith ’18, who tapped the ball into the net off a pass from Middough. The Lions searched to regain the lead for the remainder of the half, earning three penalty corners and taking four shots, but the period concluded 1–1.
The Bulldogs began the second half with great promise. One minute in, Smith returned with a soft shot, combined with a mistimed kick from Dempsey, to score again and give the Elis a 2–1 lead. In the following minutes, Yale flipped Columbia’s first-half shooting advantage. After two penalty corners and five shots, the Bulldogs took another penalty corner and found the back of the net halfway into the second half, this time from the stick of midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 with an assist from forward Bridget Condie ’20.
The Bulldogs’ 3–1 lead prompted a Columbia timeout, and the Lions returned by earning a penalty corner. After a scramble, the referee awarded a penalty stroke, a golden opportunity that star back Maeve Doherty, who leads her team in shots, goals, assists and defensive saves, drilled into the Eli net to narrow the gap to 3–2. A minute later, another Columbia goal, this time off a quick restart, evened the scoreboard to 3–3.
Columbia’s third goal led to a Yale timeout, but the Lions maintained the momentum and roared back with a shot off a penalty corner to score their third straight goal and and take the lead. In the last two minutes of regular play, Yale earned two penalty corners as it looked to tie the game. A first shot was blocked, but with just 35 seconds remaining on the clock, Condie scored off an assist from midfielder Marissa Medici ’19 to deliver a dramatic equalizer and force the Lions into overtime.
In overtime, the Bulldogs and Lions traded shots and penalty corners back and forth, until Columbia gained a final corner at 85 minutes, the end of overtime. A first shot was saved by goalie Sydney Terroso ’21, and a second was blocked, resulting in another corner. Columbia scored a dramatic winner off that opportunity to clinch a 5–4 victory. Dempsey made five saves for Columbia and Terroso totaled nine.
“The team performed to the best of our ability,” Condie said. “It was a very high scoring game. And we had to come back in the last 30 seconds, which is a huge feat. Obviously, we fell short in the end, which was heartbreaking, but every person on the field gave everything they had.”
The next day, the Bulldogs hosted Bucknell in heavy rain and wind. Although the Bison gained an early lead, finding the back of the net after nine minutes elapsed, the Bulldogs responded with goals from Condie and Middough, and seven first-half saves from Terroso, to put Yale up by one going into halftime.
In the second half, however, Bucknell responded with a pair of mid-half goals and held onto its 3–2 lead to grab the win. The Bison outshot the Elis 15–11 and had an 8–4 advantage in penalty corners.
Although the team had hoped to pick up victories against Columbia and Bucknell, it still has the opportunity, with a final match against Brown, to conclude the season above .500. The last time Yale owned a winning record was in 2011, when it won a share of the Ivy title.
“[A winning record] is something that has eluded us for many years,” back Jackie Kisa ’19 said. “We hope to finish out as a team and make the best out of every opportunity we are given when we walk on the field, if not for us, then for the five seniors leaving us this spring. They’ve truly earned it.”
Brown is currently winless in Ivy play this season.
Angela Xiao | email@example.com