The Yale field hockey team capped off its 2019 season with a resounding 4–1 victory against Ivy foe Brown.
Coming off a perfect two-win weekend, the Bulldogs (7–10, 3–4 Ivy) showed no signs of slowing down as they jumped out to an early lead against the Bears (5–12, 1–6). The Elis netted two first-half goals, sending them into the break with a 2–0 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, the Bears fought back with a goal of their own, narrowing the margin to just one. Forward Anissa Abboud ’21, however, had other ideas. Abboud tallied two goals in two minutes to seal the Bulldogs’ fifth win in six games.
“When Brown narrowed it to a one goal game, I think we were rattled for a bit, but we really managed to calm down and focus,” midfielder Olivia Levieux ’21 said. “When Anissa got her first goal to make it 3–1, I knew we were going to win because I looked around and everyone was so focused and determined and wanted to win so badly. It was great.”
With a pregame ceremony celebrating the senior class, it was only fitting that captain Bridget Condie ’20 provided the first spark in the game. As midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 dribbled down the right side of the field, she attracted the attention of the Brown defense and goalkeeper. After pulling the keeper out of position, Davies found Condie in front of goal with a wide-open net. Condie maintained her composure and drilled the ball into the back of the net.
In the second quarter, forward Lena Ansari ’23 extended the Elis’ lead with a tip-in on a penalty corner. Ansari finished the season with three goals in the final four games, providing an extra spark to the Bulldogs’ offense, which has relied heavily on Condie, Davies and Levieux.
After Ansari’s goal, neither team could find twine for almost thirty minutes. Brown, who had a strong third quarter outshooting Yale 7–1, finally broke through in the final period with a goal by midfielder Lexi King. Despite the Bears’ strong offensive performance in the second half, Yale stymied any chance of a comeback as Abboud scored two goals in two minutes.
Yale’s 4–1 victory was a triumphant end to what was, at times, a frustrating season. The Elis challenged themselves early in the season with matchups against the nation’s top programs, such as current No. 4 Virginia and then No. 16 Liberty. Although the Bulldogs only recorded two wins in their first 11 games, their early-season challenges proved critical to their success later on in the campaign. The Elis finished the year on a dominant run, winning five of their last six.
“The seniors are such a big part of the team and the program overall,” forward Josie Jahng ’23 said. “Their experience, determination and strength proved crucial in keeping the team together and lifting us up during all points of the season — both at our highest moments and our lowest.”
Although it took Yale much of the fall to find its best form, its strong performances in the latter half of the season are an optimistic sign as the team heads into the offseason. The Elis’ return 16 players, including Davies, Levieux, and standout goalkeeper Sydney Terroso ’21, next year. If the Bulldogs build upon their their dominant end to the season, they will surely be a team to be reckoned with come 2020.
“Our focus for the first half of spring will be strength building as the season takes a real toll on the body,” Davies said. “Following that roughly two month period, we will be looking to just adjust to playing without the seniors and really bringing up the confidence of our younger players and trying out some new positions and things. We will try to figure out what went wrong in the middle of the season and what went so right at the end and just look to carry on with the momentum from the last few games.”
The Bulldogs finished the season tied for fifth in the Ivy League.
Drew Beckmen | email@example.com