In spite of a few missed opportunities this fall, the Yale field hockey team will conclude its best season in recent history when it hosts Brown on Saturday.

The Elis (8–8, 1–5 Ivy) dropped a pair of games by one goal to both Columbia and Bucknell last week to lower their record on the season to .500. The Bulldogs were defeated by the Lions 5–4 in a heartbreaking overtime period, before falling 3–2 to the Bison. Hosting a struggling Brown (1–15, 0–6) squad, Yale will close its season with a chance to secure its first winning season since 2011 while celebrating the careers of its five seniors.

“Brown is our senior game,” forward Bridget Condie ’20 said. “Our senior class has made a profound difference for the program, and I think the goal is to simply enjoy the last time we all get to play together and just have fun.”

The Bulldogs began the season with high hopes. In the Elis’ first two Ivy matches of the year, they earned early leads and for a while held off both No. 16 Harvard and No. 14 Princeton, until both opponents mounted last-minute comebacks to defeat the Elis by one goal each. Yale struggled to find its rhythm in subsequent conference games and did not earn its first Ivy win until three weeks ago when it notched a resounding 5–2 victory over Dartmouth. Of the five other conference games it has played, all have been single-goal losses, with two decided in overtime.

But Ivy frustrations have not completely derailed the Bulldogs’ season. With the exception of the winless weekend against Columbia and Bucknell, the Elis have emerged from every other doubleheader with a nonconference win to offset an Ivy loss, with a victory over then-No. 23 UMass highlighting the team’s ability to challenge strong opponents.

The season has also seen several highlights for individual members of the roster. Forward Carol Middough ’18 has spent her senior campaign solidifying her place as a dominant force in both program history and the Ivy League leaderboards this year. The Oceanport, New Jersey native has led the team in goals and points since her sophomore year. With 38 career goals, she is the third-leading scorer in program history and sixth in career points. Middough leads the Ivy League this season in both shots and points, and is tied with Princeton’s Ryan McCarthy for most goals with 15.

Rookie goalie Sydney Terroso ’21 has also had an immediate impact for the Bulldogs. Stepping in to replace last year’s goalie — and Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year — Emilie Katz ’17, Terroso boasts the second-highest save percentage in the conference and recorded 17 saves against Harvard, which was the highest save total for any Ivy team this season.

This group of seniors knows struggle. In their first season, the team went 3–14 and 1–6 in the league, with its only conference win coming in overtime against Brown. The next year, Yale repeated its 3–14, 1–6 Ivy record, again with a lone Ivy victory against the Bears. The team improved to 7–10, 3–4 Ivy last season, defeating Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia, but fell by one goal to Brown. If Yale defeats the Bears on Saturday, it will be the first season above .500 in more than half a decade.

“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,” back Jackie Kisa ’19 said. “If not for us, then for the five seniors leaving us this spring. They’ve truly earned it.”

The Bears have struggled this season, with their sole victory coming in mid-September against Siena. Against the Ivy League’s strongest teams, Harvard and Princeton, the Bears were unable to stomach the challenge, falling 7–0 and 11–1, respectively. They were similarly trounced in matches against Columbia, 4–0, and Penn, 6–1. Against Dartmouth and Cornell, however, Brown fell by just one goal.

Yale’s offense averages 2.8 goals per game, more than double the Bears’ mark of 1.2, but the Bulldogs’ offensive lineup on Saturday will be missing midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 and midfielder Iliana Cabral ’21, both currently sidelined due to injury. Davies has scored six goals for the Bulldogs in her rookie season, trailing only Middough and Condie, and is the Elis’ primary inserter in their penalty corner unit.

The teams’ rendezvous will also be a contest between former teammates — Yale head coach Pam Stuper and Brown head coach Jill Reeve — who played together at Old Dominion and, later, on the United States National Team.

“The team’s goal going into our last game of the season is to end on a high note,” Middough said. “Despite this year not going the way we had, we still would like to end with a win.”

Yale’s five seniors are back and captain Kiwi Comizio ’18, midfielder Katie Smith ’18, midfielder Lily Smith ’18, back Tess Thompson ’18 and Middough.

Angela Xiao | angela.xiao@yale.edu