FIELD HOCKEY: Yale looks to tame the Columbia Lions
The Yale field hockey team will travel to New York to face Columbia on Friday in their fourth conference matchup of the season
After surrendering four consecutive games, the Yale field hockey team (4–7, 1–2 Ivy) looks to get back in the win column as they square off against an offensively struggling Columbia (6–4, 0–3 Ivy) squad.
In their first meeting with another Ivy League lineup, the Bulldogs were edged to a 1–3 loss by No. 28 Princeton. Despite an excellent rally and last minute goal by midfielder Maddy Wong ’24, the Blue and White dropped yet another heartbreakingly close match in overtime to Quinnipiac.
Last week, Yale took to the pitch at Johnson Field for games against two Massachusetts squads. The first contest of the week featured a hard fought battle against Harvard on the Bulldogs’ first Alum Day since 2019. A myriad of offensive opportunities that favored the Crimson ultimately handed them a 3–1 win over the Elis. The second matinee match of the weekend took place on the road against No. 24, University of Massachusetts Amherst. After a scoreless first half, the Minutewomen broke open the floodgates with a goal off a penalty corner. UMass ultimately blanked Yale after adding two more unanswered goals.
“We played very well,” Yale field hockey head coach Pam Stuper told Yale Athletics after the match on Sunday. “UMass comes up with great corners and executes them well — we knew that going in. The goals they scored on us were well-earned.”
With six straight wins to start the season, the 2021-22 Columbia field hockey team etched its name into the program’s history book. Following this monumental start, however, the Lions have yet to bounce back from their Sept. 24 1–4 defeat to Havard, losing four games straight since.
Yale will also enter the matchup having been unable to find victory in its last four outings. The Lions were shut out by its opponents in three out of four of their defeats, while the Bulldogs managed to get on the scoreboard in three of their games.
On the offensive end, the Lions are led by senior midfielder Kelsey Farkas and first-year midfielder/forward Sophie Rockefeller who have combined for a total of seven goals and nine assists this season. Senior goaltender Alexa Conomikes has been in net for all ten of Columbia’s contests. The Academic All-Ivy League recipient recorded a total of 51 saves this season, posting a .739 save percentage.
Despite the team’s offensive core scoring 22 goals in their first six games, the Lions have lately been struggling to generate and capitalize on scoring opportunities.
“Every loss recently has felt different,” Columbia head coach Katie DeSandis told the Columbia Spectator. “I think the takeaway from today is that we really just need to work for each other and give 100 percent in training this whole week coming up so we can actually bring that to the field on the weekend.”
The Yale field hockey team’s leading scorers include forward Lena Ansari ’24 and midfielder Théodora Dillman ’23, who have established themselves as two of the top eight goal scorers in the Ivy League. On the other side of the field, starting goaltender Luanna Summer ’24 has been an irreplaceable presence in goal and currently leads the Ancient Eight in saves, with 67 in 11 appearances.
The Bulldogs will look to maintain their historical record against Columbia as they have secured the victory in three of their last four meetings with the Lions. In their most recent matchup, the Blue and White took home a memorable, come-from-behind 4–3 win in overtime. This upcoming game in New York will mark the first of five games over a 15 day stretch.
The Yale field hockey team is set to take to the pitch in New York at 6 p.m on Friday.