The Yale field hockey team’s fairytale start to the season came to an abrupt end at the hands of a pair of West Coast opponents.
After opening the year undefeated in a trio of home games, the Elis (3–2, 0–0 Ivy) travelled to California for their final tests before conference play begins next week. On Friday, a rough start for the Blue saw No. 23 Stanford (5–3, 0–0 America East) pull ahead early, before coasting to a 5–0 shutout victory. The weekend continued on Sunday afternoon against a University of California, Berkeley, team hungry for its first victory in three games. After the Golden Bears (3–3, 0–0 America East) broke through with a pair of late first-period goals, the Bulldogs never recovered fully and fell 3–1.
“Against Stanford we really came out and went after it,” forward Olivia Levieux ’21 said. “Despite the scoreline, I really felt good about the team afterwards … but honestly against Cal we were not our best, and we didn’t play like the Yale we’ve all come to expect.”
Stanford defeated the Elis in a 5–0 shutout, adding another win to its own three-game winning streak, which comes on the heels of three losses to ranked opponents earlier in the season. The Bulldogs fell victim to a rough start, conceding two goals to the Cardinal within the match’s first five minutes. The Bulldogs’ defense adjusted quickly, however, holding Stanford scoreless for the next 20.
Despite strong offensive production in wins against Michigan State, Hofstra and Drexel, the Bulldogs’ struggled to convert on important penalty corners. Since the graduation of star forward Carol Middough ’18, the team has relied on its penalty corners to generate scoring opportunities. Against Stanford, although Yale took two penalty corners in the first half and allowed the Cardinal none, the Bulldogs were unable to snatch the opportunity to turn the game around.
After 20 goalless minutes, Cardinal attacker Emma Christus notched her second tally of the match, unassisted in the top left corner, giving her team a 3–0 in lead at the half.
The second period marked a disappointing coda for the Bulldogs, with the Cardinal taking six penalty corners compared to Yale’s zero. Keeping up its aggressive offense, Stanford attempted eight shots, giving Yale midfielder Bridget Condie ’20, a second-team All Ivy pick and one of Yale’s most consistent offensive players, only one chance to fire on goal, which was blocked by Cardinal goalie Kelsey Bing. Yale goalie Sydney Terroso ’21, who earned first team All-Ivy honors in her first year, made nine saves for the Bulldogs.
Stanford piled on as attacker Jessica Welch scored on a deflection, followed by a final goal by midfielder Kaylie Mings to cap off the 5–0 score line.
“[Stanford was] definitely the strongest team we had played so far, and so I think we felt a little shocked when they came out so hard,” midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 said. “We matched them for good periods of time, but their clinical finishing was just too good on Friday. We did have some great chances but didn’t capitalize as we usually do.”
On Sunday, the Bulldogs adjusted defensively after their early mishaps against Stanford, holding Berkeley scoreless for most of the first half. But the Golden Bears controlled the period’s possession, attempting five shots before the Elis could manage their first, 15 minutes into the match. The Bulldogs’ first penalty corner came 23 minutes into the period, but again, they were unable to convert. Just two minutes later, the Golden Bears took the ball into the circle and scored to pull ahead 1–0.
Just two minutes after California’s first goal and before Yale could attempt to conjure an equalizer of its own, the Golden Bears drew another corner. The first shot off the corner play was blocked, but Cal fought for the ball in the far corner and found the back of the net to widen its lead to two going into the second period, having outshot Yale 11–2 for the half.
The Elis struggled to recover control of the match, as the Golden Bears opened the second half with a pair of penalty corners and, eight minutes into the half, widened the gulf again to 3–0. The Bulldogs responded with a pair of corners. Off the second, Levieux notched the Bulldogs’ first and only tally of the weekend, 15 minutes into the period, to put Yale on the scoreboard. Although the Elis rallied to finish off the half, their recovery was too little, too late, and Cal triumphed 3–1.
“Going forward we’re going to be harder on ourselves,” Levieux said. “[Against] every team we play, if they’re going to beat us, they’re going to have to really earn it.”
The Bulldogs will face No. 18 Harvard in their conference opener next weekend.
Lucy Liu | firstname.lastname@example.org
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