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Borgo, Fitzgerald, Villa Score in 3-1 Win at Columbia

Noelle Villa. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Noelle Villa. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Schlesier Adds Eight Saves

NEW YORK – Goals from three different Bulldogs -- including the first goal of the season by junior back Noelle Villa -- led the Yale field hockey team to a 3-1 win at Columbia Friday night. Junior goaltender Heather Schlesier made eight saves, and senior midfielder/back Georgia Holland added a defensive save -- remarkably, her fourth straight game with a defensive save.

Yale (7-8, 3-3 Ivy League) continues to play with a roster depleted by injuries. On Friday that meant that sophomore midfielder Nicole Wells had to play the full 70 minutes less than a week after a scary injury at Penn, when she was hit in the face with a ball.

"She's a tough young woman and certainly showed her resiliency today -- her desire to play for her teammates," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. "She played the full 70 minutes and was a playmaker."

The first goal came at 11:04 from sophomore back Danee Fitzgerald, who has been seeing time at forward as the Bulldogs continue to mix-and-match positions based on who is available for each game. The versatile Fitzgerald even had a brief stint in the midfield Friday.

"Danee had a really good game, playing great defense on the front line," said Stuper.

Junior forward Grace McInerney assisted on the goal, her first career point.

The Bulldogs clung to that 1-0 lead for more than 50 minutes before senior forward/midfielder Erica Borgo gave the team some breathing room, deflecting in a rebound with 7:45 to play.

"Borgo had an outstanding game," said Stuper, noting that Borgo even had a brief stint as a center back late in the game. "She played very well for us defensively and was a huge playmaker on attack. She had good runs up the field, good passing combinations and was just really very dangerous."

Sophomore back Noelle Villa extended the lead to 3-0 less than three minutes later. Those were her first points of the season.

Columbia (6-10, 2-4 Ivy League) broke up the shutout bid with a penalty stroke goal from forward Anna Scipioni with 27 seconds to play, but the Bulldogs still wound up with an impressive defensive effort. In their last two games they have played 170 minutes without allowing a goal from the field.

"Our backfield and Heather played very solid defense," said Stuper. "That's been key for us lately. We battled through adversity again today. From the first whistle to the last we stayed with the game plan, executed it well and played as a team."

Marlee Silverstein made 12 saves for Columbia.

Yale hosts No. 8 UConn on Sunday.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity