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Seven Saves for Schlesier as Yale Shuts Out Bryant 1-0

Megan Kirkham, Heather Schlesier and Kiwi Comizio. (photo by Steve Musco)
Megan Kirkham, Heather Schlesier and Kiwi Comizio. (photo by Steve Musco)

Middough Scores Lone Goal of Game

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team has been able to count on great goaltending from senior Heather Schlesier throughout the season, as she entered this week leading the nation in saves per game and leading the Ivy League in save percentage. What the Bulldogs have been waiting for is for a young attack to start generating the goals needed to turn Schlesier's work into wins. Signs of progress in that area came Wednesday night against Bryant at Johnson Field, as freshman Carol Middough delivered a goal -- and that was all Schlesier needed for a 1-0 win, her second shutout of the season.

With the win, Yale (2-8, 0-3 Ivy League) snaps a streak of six losses -- including back-to-back shutout losses in the last two games. Wednesday's game ultimately hinged on a penalty corner that the Bulldogs got as time expired in the first half. After receiving the insertion from junior midfielder Nicole Wells, senior back Megan Kirkham sent a pass past one Yale hitter and right to Middough. Middough blasted it in for the 1-0 lead, scoring her team-leading third goal of the season.

"It was nice to score on a corner, and to see that young unit rewarded for the work they have been putting in in practice," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. "As a team, we made some good adjustments after a disappointing loss at Cornell Saturday."

Bryant (3-8, 0-0 MAAC) outshot Yale 16-9 and had eight penalty corners to Yale's six. But Schlesier came up with some of her biggest saves on Bryant penalty corners, including one with 90 seconds left in the game where she went down to make a pad save on Bryant midfielder Victoria Danby.

The game was expected to be a defensive battle, as Bryant came in with the second-best goals-against average in the MAAC (2.01). Yale countered with a strong effort in front of Schlesier, who had to make 26 saves in the previous two games.

"[Senior forward] Jessie Accurso had a good game, and set the tone at the start -- in our press, she came up with an interception," said Stuper. "That made a strong statement, and gave the team energy. Heather made some great saves, and Nicole Wells played strong defensively while also generating good things on attack."

Schlesier improved her save percentage for the season to .764, 27 percentage points better than any other goalie in the Ivy League. She also has 84 saves, 20 more than any other goalie in the league.

Yale travels to Maine for a game Saturday.

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