Sept. 13, 2003

PRINCETON, N.J. - Any questions about the improvement of the Yale field hockey program can be put to rest. After falling 7-0 to Princeton last year, Yale battled the defending Ivy League champions evenly for 70 minutes before dropping a heartbreaking 5-4 decision in overtime.

Natalie Martirosian took a pass from Kelly Darling and scored past goalie Krissy Nesburg 4:12 into the first overtime period, giving Princeton the victory over Yale in a wild Ivy League affair at Class of 1952 Field.

"The program took a tremendous step forward today," said Yale coach Ainslee Lamb. "This was the most competitive game we've had with Princeton in a long time. Our perseverance was outstanding."

The Tigers (3-0) led 3-0 after Martirosian's first goal of the game 5:55 into the second half and 4-2 when Lizzie Black scored thanks to a penalty corner with five minutes left, but the Bulldogs (1-2) tied the game by scoring twice in the final four minutes of regulation. Fran Gardner redirected a shot by Trish Bissett to pull Yale within 4-3 with four minutes left, and Meredith Hudson then scored on a penalty-corner situation with 1:41 left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

"You have to give Yale a lot of credit," said Princeton head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn. "It's not easy to come back from three goals down early or two goals down in the final five minutes. We were fortunate to finish a chance in overtime and come away with the win."

Yale had one chance early in the overtime period to win the game, but Bissett's shot was wide right and Princeton gained possession. The Tigers eventually worked the ball to Darling on the right wing, and she found a wide-open Martirosian for the game winner.

The Tigers, who won their 34th straight Ivy League game at home and and improved to 60-1 in their last 61 league games overall, took a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the game when Black scored on a penalty stroke after a Yale defender stopped a Tiger shot with her body. Princeton then went ahead 2-0 at halftime after Maren Ford redirected a Martirosian shot into the Yale goal with 50 seconds left in the first half.

Yale, which fell to the Tigers for the 19th straight season, got back into the game midway through the second half. Hudson scored her first goal on a penalty corner with just over 19 minutes left to pull the Bulldogs within 3-1, and Bissett then made a run from midfield to cut the Tiger lead to 3-2 with five minutes remaining in regulation.

Princeton outshot the Bulldogs 23-18 overall and had 16 penalty corners to just seven for Yale, but Nesburg had seven saves in net help keep her team in the game. Yale's four goals were the most by an Ivy League opponent against Princeton since the Tigers fell to Cornell 5-0 in September 1988.

Juliana Simon had six saves for Princeton in regulation time before giving way to Allison Nemeth in the overtime period.

Box Score