Team Sets New Marks for Goals and Assists; Landshut Now Career Assists Leader
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The snow fell on Johnson Field on Saturday; on Sunday, with that snow cleared away, the records fell. By the time the Yale field hockey team had finished beating Holy Cross 8-0, the Bulldogs had broken the team records for goals and assists in a season. Senior midfielder Dinah Landshut added an individual record, as her three assists made her the Yale career leader in that category. Senior back Erin Carter and sophomore midfielder/back Georgia Holland each scored two goals for the Bulldogs, who have won six straight.
Yale (10-6, 5-1 Ivy League) was coming off a key Ivy League victory over Columbia Friday night, a win that kept the Bulldogs in a tie for first place in the Ancient Eight. After a slow start on a cold but sunny Sunday afternoon against Holy Cross (1-17), the Bulldogs scored six goals in a span of less than 24 minutes to pull away.
By the time that six-goal run started, the Bulldogs had already established the school records for goals and assists. They came into the day tied for first with the 1979 squad in assists with 53, and that assist mark fell at the 8:40 mark when sophomore forward Erica Borgo set up sophomore forward Gabby Garcia for the game's first goal.
The school record-breaking goal came, appropriately, from Carter, who now leads the team with 16 for the year (the fifth best single-season total in school history). She took a pass from Landshut on a penalty corner and slid it past Holy Cross keeper Kelly Sotsky at the 11:17 mark to make it 2-0 Yale.
That was the Bulldogs' 56th goal of the season, breaking the 13-year-old school record. Yale has increased its season goal total for six straight years now.
"That record is a tribute to [Associate Head Coach] Tamara [Durante] and her work with the attack," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "We do a lot of scoring drills, and in the last few years it has really been a point of emphasis. We're shooting almost every day, and 'T' spends a lot of extra time with certain players who are key parts of the attack. This is a product of her hard work."
Landshut had another assist right before halftime, setting up Borgo for a goal that made it 3-0. That put her in a tie with Sarah Driscoll '05 for the Yale career assist record (42). Landshut's run at the record book would have seemed unlikely up until Oct. 15; in the five games since then, she has 10 assists.
The Bulldogs then scored four more goals without the assistance of Landshut, as senior forward Mia Rosati started the second-half scoring thanks to an assist from senior back Taylor Sankovich at 39:32. Three minutes later, junior forward/midfielder Mary Beth Barham took a pass from Holland after a save by Sotsky and made it 5-0.
Holland scored off another rebound at 42:58, then rifled one in from long distance at 56:47 to up the lead to 7-0. Landshut's record-breaking assist came on a penalty corner, as she passed to Carter for the game's eighth and final goal at 57:51.
Landshut's presence as a stick stopper has been one of the major factors in the success of Yale's corner unit the last three years, and that is where she has gotten the majority of her record-breaking assist total.
"We work almost daily on our attack penalty corners," Stuper said. "We end our practices with attack penalty corners and make sure we put pressure on the options. It has been a matter of repetition -- the players are taking it upon themselves to get the extra work in, during the season and during the offseason. We have a veteran group there, and that helps."
Carter now has 33 career goals, sixth all-time at Yale. Rosati (22 goals) has also cracked the top 10, tied for 10th with Jana Halfon '04. Carter and Landshut are tied for sixth on the school's career points list with 73 each.
Landshut now has 15 assists in a season for the second time in her career, putting her one away from the Yale record held by Katie Cantore '10 (16, 2009).
After Carter's second goal the only thing left for the Bulldogs to add to their list of accomplishments was a shutout. Sophomore Emily Cain had started in goal, then gave way to freshman Heather Schlesier with 21:30 to play. Neither of those two had to make a save -- that was up to junior goalie Ona McConnell. She came on for the final 6:32 and made her second career save on Holy Cross' only shot on goal, preserving the shutout. Yale finished with a 44-1 shot advantage.
It was fitting for McConnell to get some playing time on a day where the Bulldogs broke the goals record, because she has in many ways inspired the team to score. After she was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy -- the most common form of muscular dystrophy -- during her freshman year, she chose to keep playing through the pain and her teammates rallied around her cause with the "Get a Grip" campaign, signing up donors who pledged donations to the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation (where McConnell is a board member) based on Yale's single-season goal total.
"That was one of our goals for today, to get a shutout," said Stuper. "I was very proud of Ona for making that save."
The Bulldogs now turn their attention to the regular season finale vs. Brown at Johnson Field next Saturday. Princeton beat Cornell on Sunday, leaving the Bulldogs and the Tigers tied atop the Ivy League standings at 5-1. The Tigers play at Penn Friday night, but no matter what happens in that game Yale can claim at least a share of the Ivy League title by beating the Bears. The Bulldogs' last Ancient Eight title came in 1980.
While acknowledging how significant the many team and individual records were, Stuper knows that this group has gotten to the brink of an Ivy title by keeping its focus on a game-by-game, play-by-play basis.
"This team really isn't paying attention to records," said Stuper. "They are attacking each game in and of itself. The records come when you focus on the process."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity