October 9, 2011

Midwest Trip Ends on High Note as Bulldogs Upset No. 14 Northwestern 3-2

Carter Nets Game-Winner

EVANSTON, Ill. – The Yale field hockey team has been knocking on the door of the top 20, looking for a win over a nationally ranked opponent, for quite some time. On Sunday, the Bulldogs finally burst through that door, knocking off No. 14 Northwestern 3-2 on the Wildcats' home turf, Lakeside Field. Senior back Erin Carter, Yale's captain, had the game-winning goal.

Yale (5-6, 2-1 Ivy League) had scheduled aggressively this year, and four of the Bulldogs' losses heading into Sunday were against teams currently ranked in the top 15. Two of those losses were by just one goal, including one a week ago against No. 4 UConn. That same type of effort on Sunday was good enough for a 3-2 win over the Wildcats.

"We played like we did when we played UConn," said head coach Pam Stuper, noting that Yale had never beaten a top-15 team during her eight years as an assistant and six-plus years as a head coach with the Bulldogs. "This was just an incredible team effort, and everybody followed the game plan."

Adding to the challenge, the Bulldogs had to regroup quickly after suffering a 7-1 loss to No. 13 Michigan on the same field Saturday.

"We didn't play like we could have and should have [against Michigan]," said Stuper. "We recognized that, went back to the drawing board, and came out today playing to our strengths."

The Bulldogs broke on top just past the 20-minute mark, when junior forward/midfielder Mary Beth Barham drove in on the attacking left side and shot at the near post. Freshman forward Jessie Accurso got in front of the goalie and deflected it to a wide-open senior forward Mia Rosati, who deposited her career-high seventh goal of the season.

Northwestern (10-6, 1-3 Big Ten) evened the game just after halftime on a goal by forward Nikki Parsley. But a pair of goals in a span of just more than four minutes later in the half put the Bulldogs back in control. Carter's game-winner at 49:52 was a shot on a penalty corner that was deflected by a Northwestern player. Sophomore forward Erica Borgo and senior midfielder/back Chelsey Locarno were credited with the assists.

Barham then helped the Bulldogs recover on a botched corner later in the half, as she fed senior back Taylor Sankovich for a shot from the right side to the corner of the goal on the opposite side. That put Yale up 3-1 with 16:02 to play.

In addition to featuring the sister of former Yale field hockey captain Heather Orrico '07 (forward Jaimie Orrico), the Wildcats feature one of the leading scorers in the country in midfielder Chelsea Armstrong. She entered the day with 21 goals and six assists in 15 games. Armstrong had six shots in the game Sunday, but the Bulldogs were able to keep her off the score sheet until just 1:43 remained. Armstrong's goal, assisted by forward Regan Mooney and midfielder Julia Retzky, pulled Northwestern within 3-2. The Wildcats then cleared their cage to bring in an extra offensive player, but they were unable to get another one past sophomore goalie Emily Cain. She finished with seven saves.

"Emily had a great game," said Stuper. "[Senior midfielder] Dinah Landshut was also outstanding for us defensively. The stats will not show her contributions, but her work in the back part of the midfield was key for us."

The win enabled the Bulldogs to head back home with some momentum for the stretch run of the season.

"We haven't traveled like this in five years -- the players on this team had never been on a plane trip together," said Stuper. "This is also a busy time of the year academically, with lots of midterms. To be able to get a split against teams from a strong conference like the Big Ten is a tribute to the players' ability to focus. This trip definitely helps us prepare for the latter part of our season."

Yale returns to Johnson Field to host Dartmouth, which is currently all alone atop the Ivy League standings at 3-0, next Saturday at Noon.

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

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