FIELD HOCKEY: Yale blanks Merrimack, splits weekend
After a dominant victory against Merrimack in their home opener, the Bulldogs surrender their second game of the season to Fairfield.
Lukas Flippo, Photo Editor
The Yale field hockey team has returned to the pitch and is back in action.
After its first homestand of this season, the Yale field hockey team (1–1–0, 0–0–0 Ivy League) emerged victorious in a shutout against Merrimack (0–4–0, 0–0–0 NEC), before dropping its Sunday match against Fairfield (2–2–0, 0–0–0 NEC).
Despite ending the weekend with a loss, midfielder Iliana Cabral ’22, who contributed her first career assists against the Merrimack Warriors, emphasized how much it meant to her to finally compete at Johnson Field once again.
“I was very grateful to be in a position where I could put my uniform on again this weekend,” Cabral said. “Nothing compares to being in a competitive atmosphere again while being surrounded by the best teammates an athlete can ask for.”
On Friday, with sophomore Luanna Summer ’24 starting in net, the Bulldogs quickly established a strong start after goals from team captain Imogen Davies ’22 and forward Anissa Abboud SPH ’23. After keeping the pressure on, Yale outshot the Warriors 12–1 by the conclusion of the second period.
The Blue and White kept its foot on the pedal in the second half as the dominant showing by the veterans continued. Midfielder Théodora Dillman ’23 netted back-to-back goals four minutes apart in the third period, extending Yale’s lead to 4–0 before forward Kelly Dolan ’22 brought the tally to 5–0.
A final push by the Bulldogs capped off the match with another goal from the corner unit, as midfielder Alissa Wong ’23 delivered the game’s sixth and final goal assisted by fellow midfielders Cabral and Davies.
Two days later, Yale returned to the field for another battle at home — this time against Fairfield. However, unlike in Friday’s matchup, the Bulldogs were unable to find their rhythm early on.
After two scoreless periods, Fairfield opened the floodgates at the 34-minute mark in the third period. Consecutive goals by the corner unit put the Stags up 2–0 as both teams entered the final frame. While a goal from forward Lena Ansari ’24 put the Blue and White on the board early on in the fourth period, Yale was ultimately unable to rally back to send the game into overtime.
Following the match, Yale head coach Pam Stuper commended the Stags for their efforts. She highlighted how difficult it was for the Bulldogs to break through Fairfield’s fortified defense as evidenced by Yale’s seven total shots.
“It was hard for us to create opportunities and capitalize on [Fairfield]. We battled back to get within one, but just didn’t have enough chances,” Stuper said to Yale Athletics.
Despite the close loss, Yale will be able to take away some vital lessons and regroup after facing off against a defensively resilient team.
Although the two games this weekend were vastly different scorewise, it was not certainly not due to a lack of energy from the Bulldogs. Prior to their contest against Merrimack, back Katie Pieterse ’23 identified the squad’s electrifying atmosphere as one of the most memorable aspects of competition.
“I really missed the energy of game day, and enjoying the game of hockey with a wonderful group of girls,” Pieterse said.
Even after a year away from competition, the members of the Yale field hockey team were able to take the pitch without missing a beat in their very first matchup.
The vigor of the Blue and White was still quite noticeable according to Cabral.
“Before both games you could feel the energy each player had as we stepped onto the field,” Cabral said. “We were ready to play for each other.”
Yale will take on Lafayette on the road this Friday at 7 p.m.