September 5, 2007

No. 3 Huskies Fend Off Bulldogs 1-0

Sept. 5, 2007

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STORRS, Conn. - For the second time in as many games, the Yale field hockey team fell one goal short against a nationally-ranked team. No. 3 UConn got a goal from All-American Jennifer Kleinhans at the 42:48 mark for a 1-0 win Wednesday night at the Sherman Family Athletic Complex, overcoming a 15-save performance from Yale sophomore goalkeeper Charlotte Goins.

UConn (4-0) had been averaging over three goals per game and was an NCAA Final Four participant last year, but Yale (0-2) stayed with the Huskies throughout the game. There was a marked difference from last year's trip to Storrs, a 6-0 UConn win.

"That was the best defense we've played in my three years as head coach," said head coach Pam Stuper. "Our backs played a tremendous game."

With seniors Beth Raveche and Lorrie Kiger anchoring the backfield, the defense set the tone early on. Goins made her first big save on a UConn penalty corner five minutes in, knocking aside a shot from Kleinhans. Two minutes later she denied another Husky shot from a corner, this one by Lizzy Peijs.

"Charlotte was phenomenal," Stuper said. "We did a nice job in the first 10 minutes not allowing UConn to play the game they wanted. I think our aggressiveness and our scrappiness presented them with some problems."

Goins showcased her athleticism to make another key save 15 minutes in, leaping to reject a high shot from Peijs.

The Huskies had their share of near-misses as well, including a pair of shots by Lauren Aird that went just wide of the net and elicited gasps of frustration from the UConn crowd.

With under a minute to play in the half the Bulldogs started applying some offensive pressure, with sophomore Julia Weiser battling for the ball deep in UConn territory and keeping it alive for a blast from junior Ali Rotondo that wound up being Yale's lone shot on goal for the half. Andrea Mainiero turned that one aside and the teams remained scoreless at the break.

The Bulldogs got their first corner of the game -- after UConn had seven in the first half -- when the Huskies tripped sophomore Katie Cantore as she maneuvered through the defense three minutes into the second half. That did not result in a goal, but it did signal the start of a more balanced half in which Yale was able to generate more offensive pressure.

The half was also a testament to the Bulldogs' toughness. Raveche took a hard shot to her hand five minutes in, but shook off the injury and waved off medical attention to remain in. Rotondo also played through pain, getting stitches on her chin after the game.

With the Huskies piling up a 16-1 advantage on penalty corners Goins continued to shine. Six minutes into the second half turned aside a rebound attempt after another save.

When UConn finally broke through for its goal, it came ironically after a corner broke down. The Huskies were unable to control the ball off the insertion but did maintain possession, and Kleinhans slid a quick shot along the turf past Goins for a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs generated some of their best opportunities on offense shortly after that. Junior Jayna Whitcher set up sophomore Ashley McCauley down the right side and Mainiero had to make a nice diving save. With the Huskies attempting to clear the ball three minutes after that Cantore took the ball away and passed to Thayer. McCauley just missed tipping her shot in. Two minutes after that the Huskies called timeout to try to settle things down.

The Huskies had a shot deflected high on their next corner, and Goins made a save with 16 minutes to play by stopping the ball with her right foot and then kicking it away.

Yale's last golden chance to score went by the boards with six minutes left, as Mainiero ranged far out of the cage to kick away a loose ball in the middle of the field with a Bulldog bearing down on it.

After a Yale timeout with 5:45 remaining Rotondo disrupted a UConn pass in the Yale end and sent a pass ahead for McCauley that just missed. The Bulldogs could not mount another significant offensive threat after that, falling to the Huskies by a 1-0 score for the fourth time in the last nine meetings between the two teams.

"UConn had to play us hard," Stuper said. "I told our players after the game that if they continue to play like this, they will get the results they want."

Yale opens Ivy play at Princeton Saturday at Noon.

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

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