September 5, 2009

Thrilling Comeback Ends With Overtime Heartbreak as Northwestern Tops Yale 3-2

Bulldogs Rally from 2-0 Deficit But Come Up Short

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Trailing Northwestern 2-0 with less than 20 minutes left Saturday afternoon at Johnson Field, the Yale field hockey team faced an early-season gut check. The Bulldogs responded in fine fashion, fighting back to tie the game at two on a goal by junior back Marissa Waldemore with just 1:23 left in the game. But 10 minutes into a wild back-and-forth overtime period the Wildcats finally put Yale away, 3-2, on a goal by Kaylee Pohlmeyer.

"Our team did a great job of rallying and coming back," said head coach Pam Stuper. "Down 2-0, they turned around and, one at a time, got the goals they needed to give themselves another opportunity to win."

The first half was a defensive battle, and Northwestern goalie Katie Lynch played a large role in that by poking away a shot from senior forward Ashley McCauley 10 minutes in after a nice pass into the circle from sophomore midfielder Dinah Landshut. Lynch would finish the day with 12 saves.

Right after Lynch's big save, Yale back Erica Cullum responded with a big defensive play of her own, intercepting a dangerous pass right in front of the goal and clearing the ball out. The Wildcats got their first corner of the game shortly after that, but freshman forward Mary Beth Barham blocked the shot.

The game turned on a pair of corners for the Wildcats right at the end of the first half. The Bulldogs stopped the first one, but Northwestern got a second chance with another corner with no time left on the clock. Stephanie Fortson's goal provided a frustrating end to an otherwise solid half for Yale.

Lynch made a nice save on a corner shot by Landshut five minutes into the second half, and two minutes later the Wildcats scored on a corner of their own (Chelsea Armstrong unassisted) to go up 2-0.

The Bulldogs continued to pressure Lynch and would end up with a 13-8 edge in shots for the second half. Three minutes after Northwestern's second goal she collided with McCauley, who was awarded her second penalty stroke of the day but was unable to convert. A steal by sophomore forward Mia Rosati set McCauley up for another shot right after that, but Lynch came up with another big save.

A penalty on Northwestern (3-1) with 19:28 left in the game gave Yale (1-1) a chance to get on the scoreboard, and the Bulldogs converted on a penalty corner at 16:10. Waldemore inserted to senior stick stopper Katie Cantore, who set up sophomore back Erin Carter for a hard shot that beat Lynch on her blocker side.

The Wildcats called timeout shortly after that, but the Bulldogs continued to attack and draw corners. They would wind up with four in the final 10 minutes, but the first three came up empty. Finally, a cross into the circle by Cantore with less than two minutes to play gave Yale the penalty corner it needed. Waldemore got a piece of Landshut's shot to deflect it past Lynch, touching off an emotional celebration for the Yale corner unit.

That celebration was nearly very short-lived. The Wildcats threatened in the final minute, and senior goalkeeper Charlotte Goins had to kick away a loose ball with 40 seconds to play to send the game into overtime.

The extra session was a see-saw battle, with Lynch denying two Yale corners in the opening minute and Goins responding by ranging far out of the goal to kick away a ball and break up what seemed a sure scoring opportunity for the Wildcats 90 seconds into OT. Goins, who once again split time with junior goalkeeper Katie Bolling, showed the athleticism that helped her finish third in the country in save percentage two years ago.

"Char was Char today," Stuper said. "She made some great saves."

Goins had no chance to stop the game-deciding play. Yale was caught in transition and two Wildcats were wide open right in front of the goal as Zoe Almquist sent a crossing pass in. Pohlmeyer was able to redirect it in behind Goins to negate an otherwise strong effort by the Bulldogs.

"It was a tremendous game," Stuper said. "Erica Cullum played a great game defensively and on the attack. Dinah did a nice job in the midfield, and Katie Cantore really played well, especially in the passing game. We can take some of the lessons from this game into the next 15."

Yale travels to Maine next weekend, playing the Black Bears Friday afternoon and Colgate in a neutral-site game Saturday afternoon.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

 

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