Lukas Flippo, Photo Editor

For the first time in over 22 months, the Yale field hockey team prepares to go head-to-head with one of its conference competitors.

The Bulldogs (2–3, 0–0 Ivy) look to add to the win column as they face off against Brown (3–3, 0–0 Ivy) and Drexel (2–6, 0–0 CAA) in matinee matches this weekend. Despite only clinching one victory from its last pair of contests, the Blue and White’s offense has only been heating up since the start of its 2020-21 campaign. After outshooting both Colgate and Wagner, Yale looks to continue generating scoring opportunities and building upon takeaways from last weekend’s split home series.

“I think it was awesome that we were able to get the shutout on Saturday and keep Colgate out,” goalkeeper Luanna Summer ’24 told the News. “I think we learned a lot of things from the Wagner game [in terms of] our approach.”

Although the Brown Bears opened the season with an undefeated 3–0 record — their best start since 2014 — they head into Saturday’s matchup with three consecutive losses. The contest will also be Brown’s first encounter with a fellow Ivy League squad this year.

In the past, Yale has found great success against Brown as the Bulldogs have emerged victorious in eight of the last nine games of the series. In their most recent meeting, the Blue and White defeated Brown 4–1 in their 2019-20 season finisher. In that game, Yale managed to hold on to its early lead and fend off an offensively strong Brown team in the second half.

Bruno senior midfielder and forward Danielle van Rootselaar, along with midfielder and back Ana Claire Piacentini, leads Brown’s offense, notching a total of six goals between the pair. Since the beginning of this season, the Bear’s starting goaltender Jodie Brine has picked up 25 saves in 341 minutes played and currently posts a .758 save percentage.

Hailing from the Netherlands, van Rootselaar brings experience to the Bears’ squad with 38 varsity games and two All-Ivy Team selections under her belt. Meanwhile, New Jersey native Piacentini played in all 17 matches during her rookie season and helped the Bears record three shutouts.

The Bears also boast an impressive defensive line. According to Brown head coach Jill Reeve, both back Julia Hitti and goalie Brine had an “outstanding weekend” after their last series of games. Reeve told Brown Athletics that she is “very happy with the way [their] defensive unit is playing.”

On Sunday, the Blue and White will face off against the Drexel Dragons. While their last contest with the Dragons in 2019 did not turn out favorably for the Bulldogs — with Yale falling 2–1 in Philadelphia — Drexel has yet to post consistent wins this year. The struggling Dragons have been outscored 30–19 by their opponents in their first eight games. Their most lopsided loss so far this season was a crushing 1–7 defeat, handed to them by North Carolina.

Before facing off against Yale, Drexel first looks to nab a victory against Fairfield on Friday with the help of its leading goalscorer, forward Avery Powell, and starting goaltender, junior Megan Hadfield.

Despite having only been in net a total of seven times for Yale, Summer has already established herself as a key contributor. The St. Louis native has the potential to become one of the program’s most successful netminders since 1998 if she maintains her save percentage of .811.

“Lu’s just had a great start to the season,” Pam Stuper, head coach of the field hockey team, told Yale Athletics. “She has stepped in and been a leader in goal, setting up the defense and organizing things while also making sure to come in and take care of the ball when she needs to.”

Summer told the News that she is thrilled to begin Ivy play: “It’s been so long,” she said.

Yale will face Brown on Saturday at Johnson Field at 1 p.m.

Trisha Nguyen covers men's ice hockey and field hockey as a staff reporter. Originally from St. Louis, she is a sophomore in Saybrook College majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology.