Bulldogs Face Old Rivals
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In a rivalry that dates back all the way to the start of intercollegiate sports, 1852, the Yale and Harvard field hockey programs have carved a unique niche in the storied history of battles between the two schools. For the last seven years, they have played games that have been decided by the slimmest of margins -- one goal. That is the backdrop for Saturday's 1 p.m. showdown at Johnson Field, which also marks the start of Ivy League play for both teams. The Alumnae Weekend festivities continue Sunday with the Bulldogs hosting Sacred Heart at 2 p.m.
The Bulldogs, who are among the teams receiving votes in this week's national poll, have been involved in four close games -- two decided by one goal in overtime and two decided by two goals in regulation. If ever there was a team that Yale (1-3) is likely to continue its trend with, it is Harvard. The seven straight one-goal battles between these two teams include a pair of double-overtime games.
Yale holds a 4-3 edge in that seven-game stretch, including last season's 1-0 Bulldog win that was decided by a goal at 66:42 by senior forward Mia Rosati (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) that was set up by sophomore midfielder/back Georgia Holland (Stony Brook, N.Y.). Sophomore goalie Emily Cain (Laytonsville, Md.) got the win in that game, combining with Katie Bolling '10 for the shutout.
Cain has been stellar so far this season. She entered the week averaging 10.5 saves per game, second in the country behind Siena's Beth Meyers. Her .778 save percentage has her tied for 13th.
Harvard (2-1) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 3-0 defeat at UMass. Crimson goalie Cynthia Tassopoulos made 13 saves in that game and entered the week ranked No. 5 in the country in save percentage (.839). The Harvard attack is led by forward Bridget McGillivray, who has five points in the first three games.
Sacred Heart (2-4) is coming off a 5-4 overtime win at Holy Cross from last Sunday. Midfielders Sarah Bergman and Kate Boyd share the team lead in points (3-3-9 each).
Yale beat the Pioneers 5-0 last year, getting a pair of goals each from sophomore forward Erica Borgo (Randolph, N.J.) and senior back Taylor Sankovich (Short Hills, N.J.), plus one goal from junior forward Maddy Sharp (San Diego, Calif.). That game also marked the varsity debut of junior goalkeeper Ona McConnell (London, England), who came on late in the second half to finish off the shutout.
Every goal Yale scores this season brings the world closer to a cure for myotonic dystrophy. Junior 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
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity