NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The thrilling win over Ivy League rival Dartmouth that pulled the Yale field hockey team into a tie for first place in the league on Saturday featured a hat trick from a sophomore, 13 saves from another sophomore and a game-winning goal from a freshman. On Sunday afternoon at Johnson Field against Fairfield, it was several members of Yale's senior class who racked up significant numbers. Led by four goals from senior back Erin Carter and three assists from senior midfielder Dinah Landshut, the Bulldogs avoided any threat of a letdown in a non-league game with a convincing 6-0 win over the Stags.
Just a year earlier, the Bulldogs had played Fairfield (8-7) in a similar situation -- a Sunday game after an Ivy League win on Saturday -- and had to fight to come away with a 3-2 victory on a slim 11-7 edge in shots. With the seniors leading the way, this year's meeting between the two teams was much more decisive both in the final score and in the final shot count (38-8 in favor of Yale).
"What is really impressive about this team is they really are taking each game one game at a time," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "Each one is as important as the last one. We have been very good at taking it one game and one play at a time this year, and that says a lot about this team's mentality and focus."
The way the game played out -- 21 corners for Yale, including five goals off corners and one goal off a penalty stroke -- was perfectly suited for Carter, because in addition to being a defensive leader for the Bulldogs she is also one of their top options offensively in those situations. She is now 4-for-4 this season on penalty strokes.
"For the last three seasons Carter has been a solid piece of our corner unit and has taken the strokes," Stuper said. "She's a go-to person on those corners, whether it's giving her a straight shot or an option."
A pair of straight shots off corners got the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead midway through the first half -- and six different players got involved in the scoring. First, junior forward Maddy Sharp inserted to Landshut, who set up a shot by senior back Taylor Sankovich at 16:35. Slightly more than a minute later, sophomore forward Erica Borgo sent one in for sophomore midfielder Emily Schuckert as the stick stopper, and Carter scored off that one. That was the ninth goal of the season for Carter, a career high for her.
The Bulldogs withstood four Fairfield corners in a span of seven minutes late in the half, then extended the lead with 3:30 remaining. Carter scored again, this time set up by Borgo and senior back/midfielder Chelsey Locarno.
Carter completed her hat trick right after a Yale goal was waved off, as senior forward Mia Rosati appeared to score in the midst of a pile-up in front of the cage but the Stags were whistled for a foul that resulted in a stroke. Carter's tally made it 4-0 with 21:23 to play.
Freshman goalie Heather Schlesier came on in relief of sophomore Emily Cain with 10:29 to play. Cain, who made 13 saves the day before against Dartmouth, made three on Sunday before leaving to an appreciative round of applause from the Johnson Field crowd. While Cain has been among nation's leaders in save percentage for most of the season, Sunday marked a statistical first for her and the Bulldogs in 2011: a shutout. It was something that Cain, Schlesier and junior goalie Ona McConnell had been looking for all year.
"What's really great about our goalkeepers is that all three of them are so supportive of each other, both in practice and in games," Stuper said. "Obviously at that position, only one of them gets to play at a time. But they are all 100 percent behind each other no matter who is in goal. They want to see great saves, and they want to see a shutout."
A corner also set up Yale's fifth goal, as Landshut dribbled the ball in off the insertion and fed it to sophomore midfielder/back Georgia Holland in traffic. Holland deposited her fourth goal of the weekend, following up the hat trick she had against the Big Green Saturday.
Another corner with 2:24 left gave Carter the chance to tack on one more goal, as she rifled in a pass from Landshut. The four-goal day made Carter the first Yale player to accomplish that feat since Ashley McCauley '10 (Sept. 30, 2007). It also gave Carter 29 goals for her Yale career, moving her past Christie Littlejohn '81 (28) into sixth place on the school's career list. Landshut's three-point day also moved her into sixth place on that career list with 68 points (15 goals, 38 assists), passing Jana Halfon '04 (66: 22 goals, 22 assists). Landshut is also second on Yale's career assist list, trailing only Sarah Driscoll '05 (42).
As a team, the Bulldogs' 49 goals this season place them fifth on Yale's all-time list, within striking distance of the record (55, 1998). Yale's 48 assists this year are second-most in school history, trailing only the 1979 team's 53.
The win was also a historic one for the senior class as a whole. The Class of 2011 has now been a part of 37 wins in four seasons, tied for third-most in school history. Only the Class of 1999 (45 wins from 1995 to 1998) and the Class of 2005 (38 wins from 2001 to 2004) have won more.
Yale (7-6, 3-1 Ivy League) plays at Penn next Sunday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity