This weekend, Yale’s field hockey looked to maintain its momentum from a 4–0 shutout, but things went quickly awry for the Bulldogs and their lackluster offense in two games against nationally-ranked opponents in Virginia.
While the Elis (1–3, 0–0 Ivy) played well defensively, especially considering the fact that they were up against No. 16 Liberty (4–0, 0–0 Big East) and No. 6 Virginia (5–1, 0–0 ACC), the opposite was true for their offense, which scored just two goals in 120 minutes. Against the Flames on Saturday, the game got out of hand quickly as Liberty shot out to a 2–0 lead in the first quarter before pulling ahead 3–1 in the second. While Yale managed to cut the deficit to a single goal the following quarter, their two goals against Liberty would be all the Bulldogs scored for the remainder of the weekend. The first three quarters against Virginia on Sunday showcased some of the best defense the Elis have played all season, but two fourth-quarter goals by the Cavaliers extinguished any hope Yale had for pulling off an upset.
“From these two games we learned that when we play together as a team, work the simple game, and connect as a unit we can hold our own, and even dominate, against top teams like UVA and Liberty,” back Katie Pieterse ’22 said. “These games proved how well we as a team can take the field and show our opponent who [Yale field hockey] is. We can only continue our upward trend of confidence and true teamwork from this weekend going forward.”
The road weekend kicked off with a game against Liberty, but within 14 minutes the Bulldogs already found themselves in a two-goal deficit that proved to be too much to overcome. The first of those two goals came midway through the first, when forward Jill Bolton scored on a blast from the left side. Just one minute later, midfielder Alivia Klopp made it 2–0 on an assist from Bolton.
Halfway into the second, a beautiful crossing pass from forward Imogen Davies ’21 to forward Anissa Abboud’s ’21 stick cut the deficit in half. Whatever momentum that was conjured up from this goal, however, was quickly suppressed 40 seconds later when midfielder Lizzie Hamlett tipped one in during a penalty corner, making it 3–1 Liberty.
A penalty corner goal by forward Olivia Levieux ’21 early in the second half pulled Yale within one goal again, but the Bulldogs were held scoreless for the rest of the game and went on to lose 4–2. The score did not do justice to the incredible performance from Yale goalkeeper Sydney Terroso ’21, who kept Yale in the game with an astounding nine saves in the first half alone and went on to finish with 12 total.
The Elis entered Sunday’s game against Virginia in the same manner as they did in last Sunday’s game against Sacred Heart — having dropped the weekend opener and in need of a split. The big difference, however, was that it would be against the sixth-ranked team in the country.
Corners proved to be the decisive factor in the contest. With the game still scoreless in the second quarter, Cavalier defender Cato Geusgens put one in the back of the net on a penalty corner to make it 1–0. Later in the opening minutes of the fourth, it was Geusgens again — also on a penalty — who put the game out of reach by making it 2–0 on her second goal.
“We played really well overall,” Abboud said. “Being able to keep top teams like UVA 1-0 for almost half of a game is huge. It really shows how we’ve been growing as a team. We also put up a good fight against these teams and made them earn their goals.”
For much of the game, the Eli defense went toe to toe with an incredible Virginia offense. Terroso tallied six saves on the day, while a defensive save from back Holly Jackson ’20 and excellent midfield work from Théodora Dillman ’22 kept Virginia at bay for much of the afternoon.
Yale hits the road again to take on Wagner in Staten Island this Friday at 4 p.m.
Jared Fel | email@example.com