Bolling Makes Eight Saves
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team was 15 minutes away from knocking off UMass, a perennial NCAA Tournament team, at Johnson Field Sunday afternoon. But the Minutewomen scored on their sixth penalty corner of the second half to get within one, then scored again on their eighth corner of the half to tie the game with just over six minutes to play. Katie Kelly then finished off the UMass comeback by scoring the game-winner with 2:53 left in overtime, denying the Bulldogs a chance at their 10th win in a row.
UMass (3-3) was coming off a 1-0 upset of No. 4 UConn, but it was the Bulldogs who controlled the game early. Shortly after being stopped by a kick save by goalkeeper Alesha Widdall, sophomore forward Maddy Sharp redirected a long pass from freshman midfielder/back Georgia Holland inside the left post for a 1-0 lead at the 24:41 mark.
The Bulldogs seemingly had UMass, with 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and 11 Atlantic-10 Championships on its resume, on the ropes.
"The way we came out was great," said Pam Stuper, Yale's head coach. "We didn't sit back and wait for them. We took advantage of some early opportunities."
Shortly after that the corners started adding up for UMass, though. There were five in a span of eight minutes midway through the period, but the Minutewomen still went scoreless. They finally broke through when Kelly deflected in a shot by Makaela Potts at the 54:51 mark.
"UMass is regularly in the top 20, and they have experience in being in difficult situations," Stuper said. "We knew, even when they were trailing, UMass wouldn't let down for a minute."
Widdall then smothered a shot by Sharp, but that gave Yale its lone corner of the second half. Widdall responded with a diving stop of a blast from junior midfielder/back Taylor Sankovich. Shortly after that she kept freshman forward Erica Borgo off the scoreboard with a kick save.
A diving tackle by senior back Marissa Waldemore right outside the goal stopped a UMass scoring chance with just under 11 minutes to play, but the Minutewomen then got a pair of corners in a one-minute span. They converted the second one into the game-tying goal by Lindsay Bowman, as she knocked in the rebound after Kelly's shot hit the post and bounced right to her.
UMass also had another corner -- its ninth of the second half -- with regulation time expired, but senior goalkeeper Katie Bolling made a blocker save on Potts to send the game into overtime.
Yale had its share of scoring chances in the overtime period, but Widdall came up big. She made a kick save on Borgo after Rosati set her up by intercepting a pass. Widdall also stopped a pair of penalty corners shots by junior back Erin Carter. Bolling made a big stop on Kelly with 7:30 left in overtime after a Yale turnover, but with time winding down Kelly got the ball on a breakaway and drove in all alone for the game-winner.
Bolling finished with eight saves, while Widdall had 10.
The Bulldogs must now turn their attention to Ivy League play, which starts next Saturday at Harvard. Sunday's loss was Yale's first defeat in 11 months.
"We come out of this game knowing that we can play with some of the best teams in the country," Stuper said. "Now, we just have to get out there and do it."
Every goal Yale scores this season brings the world closer to a cure for myotonic dystrophy. Sophomore goalkeeper Ona McConnell(London, England) has been diagnosed with the disease, the most common form of muscular dystrophy. The Bulldogs are taking pledges for a season-long "Goal-a-thon" as part of their "Get a Grip" campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.yalebulldogs.com/getagrip