September 5, 2013

Season Starts this Weekend vs. No. 7 Virginia, Sacred Heart

2013 Opener Friday at Johnson Field

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2013 season gets underway this weekend for the Yale field hockey team, as the Bulldogs host No. 7 Virginia on Friday at 2:00 p.m. and Sacred Heart Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Johnson Field.

Yale has lost four players from last year's team to graduation, but the Bulldogs return seven players who started 13 or more games and two who earned All-Ivy League recognition. Six freshmen have been added to the mix as well.

The Bulldogs are captained by senior midfielder/back Georgia Holland (Stony Brook, N.Y.), who is coming back from an injury that ended her season after three games last year. Holland's comeback is already off to a good start; this summer she earned a spot on the U.S. roster for the Junior World Cup.

Yale's top returning scorer is senior forward/midfielder Erica Borgo (Randolph, N.J.), who enters the season fourth on Yale's career assists list with 27 and ninth on Yale's career points list with 65 (19-27-65). Borgo was a first team All-Ivy League pick last year, and sophomore midfielder Nicole Wells (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) was a second team pick.

Borgo and Holland are part of a six-person senior class that also includes goalkeeper Emily Cain (Laytonsville, Md.), forward/midfielder Gabby Garcia (Garden City, N.Y.), forward Brooke Gogel (Bronxville, N.Y.) and midfielder Emily Schuckert (Wilmington, Del.). Those six have led the Bulldogs to a 14-7 record in league games over the past three seasons, including a 6-1 mark in 2011 when Yale tied for the league championship.

Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC) has been a regular participant in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Michele Madison -- making the tournament six times in her seven seasons, including national semifinals appearances in 2009 and 2010. Madison will be inducted into the Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Hall of Fame later this year.

Last year Yale visited Virginia, and the Cavaliers (ranked No. 5 in the country at the time) topped the Bulldogs 4-0. But after going 16-6 overall and 4-1 in the ACC last year, the Cavaliers were picked to finish sixth in the conference this year. That is primarily due to the caliber of players from last year's squad that have graduated, including a pair of Olympians: four-time All-American Paige Selenski and 2012 USA Field Hockey National Player of the Year Michelle Vittese.

Despite the graduation losses, Virginia still has plenty of talent. Vitesse has graduated but her sister Carissa, a midfielder, returns after earning a second team all-region selection last year. Two Cavaliers were named to the preseason All-ACC team: forward Elly Buckley and goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone. Buckley, a native of Australia, is a three-time All-American. Johnstone, a Scot, was an All-ACC selection last season after posting a .720 save percentage. Those are two of the five International students on Virginia's roster.

Virginia opened its season with a 3-2 win over Louisville last Friday, then followed that up with a 4-2 win vs. No. 6 Penn State on Sunday. Buckley scored the game-winning goal in each game and leads the team in scoring with three goals and an assist.

Sacred Heart (2-0, 0-0 MAAC) started its season with road wins at Towson (3-2) and Villanova (2-1). Midfielder Liz Bergman leads the team in scoring with a pair of goals. She led the team in scoring last season with five goals and a pair of assists.

Last year the Bulldogs beat the Pioneers 3-1, getting goals from Borgo, junior forward Jessie Accurso (Jamison, Pa.) and sophomore back Noelle Villa (Green Brook, N.J.). Yale outshot Sacred Heart 24-17, but SHU goalie Mary Altepeter kept her team in the game with 10 saves. Cain made four saves for Yale, missing out on a shutout when Bergman scored with 2:24 remaining in the game.

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