The Yale field hockey team opened Ivy League play with its worst defeat in six years against perennial rival Harvard on Friday.
The Elis (4–3, 0–1 Ivy League), returning from the West Coast with two disappointing losses against Stanford and Cal-Berkeley, continued their losing streak in a six-goal shutout against No. 20 Harvard (7–1, 1–0 Ivy). After falling behind in the first six minutes due to a pair of successfully converted corner plays by the Crimson, Yale valiantly held Harvard scoreless for 38 minutes before succumbing to another pair of corner plays and two deflections, bringing the final score to a lopsided 6–0. The Bulldogs made a comeback on Sunday as they defeated local foe Sacred Heart (6–5, 0–0 NEC) by one goal in overtime, a victory that moved Yale to 4–0 at home this season.
“After losing a few crucial games last year in overtime, we made a commitment as a team to work on it this year,” forward Olivia Levieux ’21 said. “When we train at practice we really go all out, and that’s really translated to the game.”
The last time Yale prevailed over Harvard was in 2012 by a score of 2–1 in overtime. Last year, the Elis came within 36 seconds of a win, holding off Harvard for over 50 minutes before the Crimson tallied an equalizer to send the game into overtime. Two minutes into the extra frame, Harvard extended its winning streak with a sudden-death goal as it emerged triumphant.
On Friday against Harvard, the Bulldogs struggled against the Crimson’s aggressive offense, conceding two goals on corner plays in the first 5:35 to midfielders Bente van Vlijmen and Emily Duarte. Following the two-goal outburst, the Elis generated opportunities of their own, drawing three penalty corners in the remainder of the first half. But the Bulldogs proved unable to convert and entered the second half still trailing the Crimson by a pair of goals.
After a scoreless 38 minutes, Harvard back Olivia Allin recorded her first career two-goal game by finding the back of the net on a pair of corner plays barely six minutes apart. The Crimson continued to generate offensive opportunities, attempting 13 shots in the second half while holding Yale to just one. Goalie Sydney Terroso ’21, who earned All-Ivy first-team honors for her rookie season and made 17 saves against the Crimson last year, finished with nine stops on Friday night.
Harvard’s final two goals came on deflections from forward Maddie Earle and midfielder Olivia Hoover. The Crimson has won all four of its home games this season by an impressive combined margin of 16–0.
“We thought our play against Harvard was what we needed it to be between our attack and defensive 25-yard lines but we lacked on the scoring end,” forward Anissa Abboud ‘21 said. “Coming into the game Sunday we knew finishing was going to be one of the top priorities.”
The field hockey team’s Sunday matinee at Johnson Field marked Yale’s first win since its historic start to the season. Sacred Heart forward Colleen McAninley notched the first goal of the game before halftime, as Bulldogs entered the second half trailing 1–0.
But the Bulldogs did not lack offensive firepower. After 18 attempted shots by the Elis, midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 finally found the back of the net with a deflection off a shot from midfielder Bridget Condie ’20, tying the game and forcing overtime.
Less than two minutes later, first-year midfielder Théodora Dillman ’22 notched her second goal of the season with an assist from fellow first year Katie Pieterse ’22, securing the win for Yale and improving the team’s record to 4–3. The Bulldogs were successful at creating offensive opportunities throughout the game, producing 26 attempted shots compared to Sacred Heart’s seven.
“We really focused on a couple of issues in terms of outletting and managed to incorporate that into our game. This allowed us to create a lot more opportunities on attack than previous games,” midfielder Davies said. “Going forward, we just need to capitalize more on these opportunities and make sure we are placing ourselves in the best possible position for wins.”
The victory marks the Elis’ fourth win at Johnson Field this season. Next Friday, the Bulldogs will host No. 5 Princeton, a school they have not beaten in over forty years.
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