September 10, 2008

Young Bulldogs Hang Tough, but No. 5 UConn Prevails 3-1

Sept. 10, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After making it through a first half in which they were outshot 14-1 but allowed only two goals, the Yale Bulldogs regrouped and proceeded to give No. 5 UConn all it could handle over the game's final 35 minutes Wednesday afternoon at Johnson Field. The Bulldogs got a goal from freshman midfielder Dinah Landshut -- just the second the Huskies have allowed this season -- but UConn eventually finished off a 3-1 win.

"We started to realize we could play with this team," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "At halftime, they reset the clock and I told our team to play as if the score was 0-0. I encouraged them to try to shut UConn out for the second half. We were eventually able to generate more offensive opportunities, and one of them was bound to fall."

It was fitting that the goal came from Landshut, who is part of an impressive group of freshmen making immediate contributions. Landshut, forward Mia Rosati and back Taylor Sankovich give the Bulldogs three freshmen in the starting lineup. By the time Wednesday's game was 15 minutes old, the Bulldogs had all five healthy freshmen on the field, the second game in a row that the Class of 2012 has seen extensive action.

"I'm very pleased with how the freshmen have played," said Stuper. "Mia did a great job on the front line, pressuring and generating opportunities. Taylor plays like she's a senior back there with her presence and composure. And Dinah brings a unique set of skills."

Landshut's goal came off of a picture-perfect penalty corner seven minutes after UConn extended its lead to 3-0 on a goal by Lindsey Leck. Sophomore midfielder Marissa Waldemore inserted the ball to junior midfielder Katie Cantore at stick stopper. Cantore sent the ball sailing past a pair of fakes to her left and on to the stick of Landshut, who drilled it past UConn keeper Andrea Mainiero.

That goal made the final 20 minutes of the game a bit more tense, but Yale ultimately could not close the gap. This marked the second game in a row that the Bulldogs turned things around at halftime, as Yale had reversed an 11-3 first-half shot edge for Providence on Sunday by outshooting the Friars 7-4 the rest of the way.

UConn (4-0), coming off back-to-back appearances in the NCAA national semifinals, had outscored its first three opponents 10-1. The Huskies had shut out the Bulldogs in each of the last three meetings between these two teams, and seven times in the last nine meetings.

"UConn is very impressive -- that's the best UConn team I've seen," said Stuper, who is in her 12th season at Yale. "It's a tribute to our team that we learned from the second half of the Providence game and showed what we are capable of."

The Huskies' first-half goals came from Melissa Gonzalez and Robin Kleine, and the score would have been more lopsided had junior goalkeeper Charlotte Goins not made eight saves in the first half and 11 for the game. That included a nice kick save on a shot by Jennifer Kleinhans right after Landshut blocked Kleinhans' initial shot off of a penalty corner with 25 minutes remaining. UConn went scoreless on its nine corners for the game.

Yale (0-2) returns to action on Saturday, hosting Holy Cross at 1:00 p.m.

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