Sydney Terroso’s ’21 first season protecting the net for the Elis was more than outstanding. According to her coach and teammates, Terroso’s rookie season was groundbreaking.

If it was not for a preseason injury that sidelined then starting goalie Chaney Kalinich ’19 SPH ’20, it is very possible that Terroso could have gone much of the season on the bench. Instead, she started the 2017 season as Yale’s lone goalie. On a defense with just one healthy senior, the task ahead was daunting, to say the least.

“Syd is the real backbone of the team,” back Katie Pieterse ’22 said. “She’s a phenomenal leader who has such confidence and poise and she’s someone who garners immense respect because of that. Syd is a great player, a great teammate and a great friend. She constantly supports everyone around her and keeps everyone focused. I love having Syd on the team because she’s a role model and someone who is so willing to include everyone around her.”

Her first collegiate game against Nutmeg State rival Sacred Heart foreshadowed the truly special season that awaited her. She tallied six saves with a 0.75 save percentage and, just as important, earned the win — her first wearing the blue and white. 16 games later, Terroso finished her rookie campaign with a 0.784 save percentage — a stat that ranked second in the Ancient Eight and eighth in the entire country. She also averaged 7.06 saves per game, ranking 15th in the nation, and had a 1.89 goals-against average.

Yet none of her performances that season were more impressive than the one against nationally-ranked Harvard — a team that would go on to finish 13–4 and second in the Ivy League. In a game that became known as the Sydney Terroso Show, the rookie phenomenon nearly carried her team to victory, making a career-high 17 saves that ranged from one-on-one kick saves to a leaping pad stop that had the New Haven fans up on their feet in awe. That was the most saves in a game for a Yale goalie since Emilie Katz’s ’17 21 against Syracuse in 2015, and it has remained Terroso’s career high two years later.

“Syd is one of the hardest working people on the team, and it shows on game day,” back Laine Garber ’22 said. “Knowing that Syd is behind me gives me so much more confidence.”

The 2017 Bulldogs team finished with nine wins, the most since their 2011 Ivy League championship season. For the excellence Terroso displayed as Yale’s goalie her rookie year, she was rewarded with the Senior Award, which honors a first year team member whose “individual character encourages the future direction and excellence of Yale Field Hockey,” as well as the Walton Award, which the Yale coaching staff gives to a player who demonstrates “the ability to confront challenges, displaying the courage to overcome them.” The icing on the cake was well-deserved recognition on the First Team All-Ivy League.

“Syd is just an inspiring person to be around,” midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 said. She’s so passionate about everything she does, especially field hockey, and she definitely brings that side out of me too. The commitment and dedication she’s shown to becoming the best athlete and goalie she can be is something that motivates our entire team. I certainly feel lucky to get to play four years alongside her.”

Terroso’s sophomore season helped the Elis carry out their hottest start to a season since 2010 with a 3–0 record. In those three games, Terroso conceded just four goals total, combined with 14 total saves and an average save percentage of 0.746. In the games that followed, Terroso left no doubt that her rookie campaign was not a fluke, finishing with a magnificent 0.746 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against average in 2018 — earning her a spot on the Second Team All-Ivy League. In five of her final eight games of the season, Terroso allowed one goal or fewer.

Terroso was particularly dominant in her second to last game against Columbia. With the score tied 1–1, regulation winding down and the pressure mounting, Terroso seemed to get better and better. One minute, she was kicking aside a shot on a penalty corner, and the next, she was denying another corner, before delivering a final kick save to send the game into overtime. Terroso was equally as phenomenal in overtime, preventing the Lions from getting a single shot in the back of the net for three rounds, willing her team to a 2–1 victory. Terroso finished the game with a season-high 11 saves, and a win against Brown a week later gave the Bulldogs their 10th and final win of the season — the team’s most wins since 2011.

While Yale is not off to nearly as hot a start as the past two seasons — having won just one of its last four games — Terroso has still excelled. To kick off the season against UMass, Terroso matched her 2018 season high of 11 saves combined with a 0.733 save percentage. She followed this performance up with a shutout against Sacred Heart. Overall, Terroso has already tallied a total of 36 saves and is averaging a 0.766 save percentage for the season.

Now that the Bulldogs have gone through their toughest stretch of the season, it feels like only a matter of time before Terroso’s terrific goalie play translates into wins.

Jared Fel | jared.fel@yale.edu