Record-Breaking Season Culminates with 6-2 Win over Brown
Team Sets School Mark for Ivy Wins; Class of 2010 Goes Out on Six-Game Winning Streak
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a season full of highlights and broken records, the Yale Field Hockey Class of 2010 found a way to squeeze in a few more on Senior Day Saturday against Brown at Johnson Field. The biggest record to fall was the school mark for victories in Ivy League play; the 6-2 win over the Bears was Yale's sixth. Yale also set a school record for points in a season. And on a day where the focus was on the six seniors who have provided the foundation for this year's success, there were also a couple individual records of note. Senior midfielder Katie Cantore added one more assist to her school single-season mark, and senior forward Ashley McCauley established a school record by finishing her career with 100 points.
McCauley broke Emily Montgomery ‘78's 32-year old school record for points, a standard almost as old as the Yale program itself, in doing so.
"The most important thing was that we won," McCauley said when asked about her record. "We wanted to come out here and get that done. That was the biggest thing. There really wasn't a better way to go out. We talked about how much we wanted this. It's not just today, it's the last few games where we've battled to win. It's such a good feeling."
The Bulldogs have been winning at a furious pace of late. In addition to winning six in a row they have also won 11 of their last 14. Their only losses during that stretch were to teams ranked in the top 10 nationally, and their performance has earned them votes in the last five national polls.
The senior class -- Cantore, McCauley, back Stephanie Colantonio, goalkeeper Charlotte Goins, forward Lesley Kiger and back Julia Weiser -- has played a key role in that success, and all six members were honored in a pregame ceremony. Still, in the early going it looked like Brown goalie Caroline Washburn was going to stymie the Yale attack and spoil the day. Washburn, who was coming off a 14-save effort against Penn, made a series of nice kick saves on Yale corners to keep the game scoreless for the first 12 minutes. Sophomore midfielder Dinah Landshut finally solved her by teeing up a blast from high in the circle off an assist by inserter Marissa Waldemore at 12:31.
The Yale corner unit delivered another goal less than eight minutes later, with sophomore back Erin Carter scoring her eighth of the season - second only to McCauley on the team in that category. The key part of that play was an assist by Cantore. Cantore already had the Yale single-season record, set three games ago when she got her 15th, but getting an assist in her last game was only fitting.
"I was hoping she'd get another assist, and sure enough she did," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "Katie is just one of those players that wants to set up opportunities for other people to score. She deserves more recognition than she's gotten over the years, but part of that is just because of her humbleness and her unassuming ways."
McCauley echoed those sentiments.
"She's super competitive," McCauley said. "We have a ton of fun playing together because we're such good friends off the field too. She's so underrated. With her dribbling she can beat anyone, but she doesn't get the accolades she deserves. It's great that she has that record."
As the game wore on it became clear that the last bit of suspense was whether McCauley could get a record of her own and surpass Montgomery's mark of 98 career points, set shortly after field hockey became a varsity sport at Yale. No-one had even come close to the mark since; Anne Lehman '93 was the only person to get within 11 points of Montgomery until McCauley got there this year.
Shortly after halftime, McCauley finally got the point she needed to tie. It came in memorable fashion, as she led Landshut with a pass on a breakaway. Landshut was in full stride after reaching out for the pass when she began sliding to the turf and the ball appeared just beyond her reach. But she somehow managed to reach out with her stick in her left hand and get off an on-target one-handed shot from her knees that must have caught Washburn by surprise as she watched it slip past her at 39:43.
"Dinah's so much fun to play with," McCauley said. "She can take on a bunch of defenders at once and all of a sudden she's open. It's easy to play with Dinah because you can just make eye contact with her and it clicks. She's done that for me a bunch of times, and so has Katie. Both of them deserve a ton of credit."
Landshut's effort was typical of the type of focus the Bulldogs brought to the tasks at hand Saturday.
"I think the team was out there trying first to win a game, but also to help Ashley earn a school record," Stuper said. "They were trying to get her set up. When Dinah saw that pass she wanted to score for the team and for Ashley."
Landshut then had a hand in the record-breaker as well, driving through the top of the circle to the baseline and sliding a pass to McCauley in front that McCauley deposited at 43:56 to become the inaugural member of the Yale Field Hockey 100-Point Club. The goal also gave Yale 142 points as a team, breaking the previous record (141) set in 1998.
"Dinah and Katie have always looked for Ashley's stick," Stuper said. "They know Ashley's a goal scorer. Dinah found her and Ashley did what she specializes in, scoring goals around the net."
McCauley's accomplishment was all the more remarkable in light of the fact that she scored just one point her freshman year. In the three years since then she has averaged 33 points per year, serving as an example of what hard work combined with talent can produce.
"Ashley played a lot of basketball before she got here, so field hockey was still new for her," Stuper said. "Based on what we saw on tape, we knew once we got a stick in her hand and got the opportunity to coach her she could be a phenomenal player. She is one of those players that loves competition."
And while the seniors were the focus of Saturday's game, there were also some new names in the goal-scoring column on the box score. Three minutes after McCauley scored, sophomore midfielder/back Taylor Sankovich got her first goal of the year, and at 59:42 junior forward Johna Paolino got her second. It was the 51st and final goal of the year for the Bulldogs, who have improved their single-season goal total for five straight years.
Player like that figure to play an even more important role as the Bulldogs turn their attention to next season and start figuring out how to replace the Class of 2010. Along those lines, it bears noting that the class that produced the most goals this season was actually the sophomores (20), not the seniors (19). That group was led by eight goals from Carter and six from forward Mia Rosati.
"This team is in a really good place for next year," McCauley said. "I think they're going to keep getting better. This is not a one-year thing. It's a turning point."
As the final minutes ticked down all six seniors were out on the field, as Goins had come on in relief of starter Katie Bolling in goal to start the second half. The Bears did get a pair of late goals, but that did little to diminish a day where Stuper described the backfield's play as "brilliant". That is the way it has been for the majority of the season, with team captain Weiser providing the leadership as Yale allowed more than two goals in a game just once in the final 10 games.
"She's an amazing leader," McCauley said. "She's got great perspective. She can see things from the players' point of view and from the coaches' point of view. She's really diplomatic, and she's got everyone's back. She really cares about everyone on this team."
The only thing that Yale could not control this weekend was what happened at Penn Friday night, where Princeton finished off a perfect 7-0 Ivy League season by beating the Quakers 7-0 to eliminate any chance of the Bulldogs sharing the title with the Tigers.
"Obviously we would have loved to have been Ivy champs, but with Princeton as good as they are that's a tough goal," McCauley said. "But we did everything else we wanted to do. It's just really exciting that it worked out this way. We didn't want to leave any other way."
Stuper credited the senior class for accomplishing many of the goals she set for the program when she took over as head coach five years ago.
"I'm thrilled for them," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "They are a tremendous group of young women, and it's been a pleasure to see them through four years."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity