Following a crushing defeat at the hands of No. 12 Harvard last weekend, the Yale field hockey team has the chance to snap its 41-year drought against defending Ivy League champion No. 5 Princeton this Friday.
Still looking for their first conference win of the season, the Bulldogs (4–3, 0–1 Ivy League) will play host to the Tigers (6–3, 1–0 Ivy League) at Johnson Field, where Yale has yet to be beaten this year, on Friday night. The Elis will then return to the field on Sunday for a matinee match against out-of-conference Davidson (3–5, 1–0 Atlantic 10).
“The team is ready to take on a great opponent and defend Johnson Field this Friday night,” forward Brooke Reese ’19 said. “It will be our first home night game of the year, so we’re excited to compete.”
Last weekend, the Bulldogs suffered their most lopsided loss against Harvard in the field hockey rivalry’s 44-year history. Corner plays proved critical in the game, notching two goals for the Crimson in the opening six minutes and another pair after a 38-minute stalemate. Though the Elis generated offensive opportunities of their own, they were ultimately unable to convert and lost to Harvard in the six-goal shutout as the Elis’ archrival tallied another two goals on deflections in the final 10 minutes.
Returning to their home turf on Sunday, Yale rebounded nicely in a close game against Sacred Heart, defeating its local foe by a score of 2–1 in overtime to move the Bulldogs to 4–0 at home this season.
“We need to focus on the mistakes we made as a team in the past few weeks, as well as the things we did well,” forward Imogen Davies ’21 said. “We know we can perform against top teams so for us it’s just going to be a case of coming out as strongly and prepared as we can.”
The Bulldogs look to extend their undefeated streak at Johnson Field in their next game against Princeton, a powerhouse program that lays claim to 22 of the last 24 Ivy titles. A season ago, Yale came within three minutes of beating the Ivy League champions. The Tigers seized an early lead from then-rookie back Mary Kate Neff, before giving it up three minutes later on a reverse shot by forward Carol Middough ’18. Though Yale took only one penalty corner in the first half, the Bulldogs capitalized on the chance and notched another goal from Davies to bring the score to 2–1 heading into halftime.
With less than three minutes left to play, Princeton forward Ryan McCarthy delivered an equalizer off a penalty corner. Despite goalkeeper Sydney Terroso’s ’21 netminding prowess, the Tigers earned one final penalty corner as the clock ran out and McCarthy drove the ball home to pull out a 3–2 win for Princeton in an agonizing loss for the Elis.
The Tigers come into this weekend’s game riding high off a 3–0 win against Dartmouth on Saturday. So far, the team has put together a successful season, featuring wins against then-No. 5 Penn State and then-No. 4 Duke just three days later. Anyone who follows Ivy League field hockey, however, should not be surprised at the team’s strong performance. Last year, Princeton went undefeated in the Ancient Eight and finished No. 10 in the final NCAA rankings. Consistently a conference heavyweight, the Tigers will undoubtedly prove to be a challenging opponent for the Bulldogs on Friday.
“I am not looking at this game as any different than the others,” Terroso said. “I am just excited to go out and play with my teammates. It’s just another opportunity to put our hard work to use!”
On Sunday, the Elis will turn their attention to Davidson, an opponent Yale has not matched up against in recent years. The Wildcats opened conference play on Sunday with a 2–1 win over Saint Louis, their first victory in three games. Coming up from North Carolina, Davidson will play UMass on Friday before arriving at Johnson Field two days later to cap off their New England road trip.
Yale plays Princeton on Friday at 6 p.m. before hosting Davidson at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
Lucy Liu | firstname.lastname@example.org