October 2, 2010

Holland’s Big Day Lifts Yale Past Cornell 3-2

Freshman Tallies Two Goals, Makes Defensive Save

ITHACA, N.Y. – Coming into the 2010 season, one of the biggest questions the Yale field hockey team faced was whether the Bulldogs could build on their record-setting 2009 campaign despite suffering heavy losses to graduation. It was clear that the freshman class would have to make an impact immediately – and, so far, the Bulldogs are getting just what they need from the Class of 2014. Saturday was the latest example, as freshman midfielder Georgia Holland scored a pair of goals and made a pair of defensive saves to lead Yale to a 3-2 win at Cornell. It was just the second time since 1985 that the Bulldogs have won in Ithaca.

Holland is part of what is developing into a deep and impressive freshman class. She has taken over the team lead in points (4-5-13), but freshman forward Erica Borgo (3-5-11) is right behind her. And freshman goalkeeper Emily Cain improved to 3-0 on the year by coming on to make three saves in the second half Saturday.

 "Georgia played out of her mind," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "When Georgia has opportunities around the net, she does a really good job of scoring. She doesn't necessarily need someone setting her up."

As important as Holland's two goals were offensively, her defensive play might have been even bigger. When a Cornell player tried lifting the ball in after the rebound during a Big Red penalty corner with less than four minutes to play, Holland swung her stick over her head and batted the ball away for a spectacular defensive save. That was one of 12 penalty corners on the day for Cornell, but the Big Red only scored on two.

Holland opened the scoring a 6:54, beating Big Red goalie Alex Botte one-on-one. Genevieve Collins tied the game at 15:17, but other than that the Bulldogs withstood a 7-1 Big Red edge in shots for the half unscathed.

"Cornell is a fast, dynamic attacking team," Stuper said. "That showed in the stats. Our corner defense did a good job not letting them take advantage of all those penalty corners."

Holland put Yale ahead 2-1 just over two minutes into the second half, scoring off the rebound of a shot by junior midfielder/back Taylor Sankovich. The Bulldogs extended the lead at 59:45, with junior back Erin Carter scoring on a direct shot off a penalty corner. Borgo inserted and junior midfielder Dinah Landshut was the stick stopper.

That is two straight games with a goal for Carter, who entered the season as Yale's top returning point scorer but had been held to just one goal in the first seven games.

"Erin's been doing a good job in practice with her shot," Stuper said. "It was time she sunk one off a direct corner."

Cornell's Hannah Balleza pulled the Big Red within 3-2 with a goal at 62:56, but Cornell came up empty on all three penalty corners in the final five minutes.

The Bulldogs had snapped a 21-year winless streak at Cornell four years ago, and after beating the Big Red in New Haven last year Yale now has beaten Cornell in back-to-back years for the first time since 1985-86.

While the freshman class has emerged as major contributors, the Bulldogs also benefit from having reliable veterans as well. On Saturday junior forward/midfielder Chelsey Locarno continued to find ways to contribute using her versatility.

"Chelsey Locarno had an outstanding game," Stuper said. "We put her in there at forward, midfield and back. She did everything in this game except officiate. She did a great job both on defense and on attack."

The win pulls Yale (6-3, 2-1 Ivy League) into a tie for second place in the Ivy League with Cornell (5-3, 2-1 Ivy League). Dartmouth is also 2-1 in the league. Princeton, which beat Columbia Friday night, is 3-0.

Yale visits No. 5 UConn Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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