September 1, 2006

Yale Takes Season Opener, 3-1 Over VCU

Sept. 1, 2006

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It didn't take long for the first bit of adversity to hit the Yale field hockey team in the team's season opener Friday afternoon at Johnson Field against VCU. Less than 12 minutes into the game senior defensive stalwart Emily Palilonis went down with an injury, and three minutes after that the Rams scored for a 1-0 lead. But the Bulldogs rallied behind goals from freshman midfielder Katie Cantore, junior forward Harriet Thayer and junior forward Cat Lindroth to pull out a 3-1 win. Senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Friedlander made seven saves.

"This was definitely a team effort," said head coach Pam Stuper, whose record in season openers is now 2-0. "It was a matter of kids stepping up, coming off the bench and making sure that Emily being off the field didn't impact us."

When Palilonis went down Stuper turned to freshman back Julia Weiser, who quickly settled in.

"Julia stepped up," Stuper said. "She stayed within her game and did a nice job in the backfield and on the attack."

Another freshman, Cantore, helped Yale (1-0) erase that 1-0 deficit with 17 minutes left in the first half. Yale's first offensive penalty corner of the year appeared to break down when the Bulldogs were unable to control the ball, but senior midfielder Heather Orrico kept the ball alive and gave Cantore a chance to knock it past VCU goalkeeper Laura Baker (six saves).

"I told the kids that there are times when you score more often off of messed-up penalty corners," Stuper said. "Stay with it - it's an 8v4. Find an open shot or an open player."

Less than two minutes later, Thayer gave Yale the lead when she pushed a rebound past Baker to make it 2-1.

Baker made a pair of great saves after another Yale penalty corner later in the half, so the score stayed 2-1 as the second half began. Lindroth tipped in a shot by Harriet Thayer with 20 minutes to play to extend the margin to two.

With under 18 minutes left, Friedlander poked the ball away from VCU's Nikki Lloyd to deny a developing scoring chance. Junior back Beth Raveche broke up a Ram penalty corner a minute later, and a sliding kick by Friedlander with 11 minutes to play helped maintain the lead.

VCU (1-2) did not mount a threat after that, and senior forward Lindsay Collins disrupted the Rams' final penalty corner with 1:30 to play to cap the victory.

Yale travels to No. 9 UConn next Wednesday.

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