Sept. 23, 2006
ITHACA, N.Y. - The return trip from Ithaca, N.Y. is always literally the longest against any Ivy opponent for the Yale field hockey team. For most of the last 21 years it has also been figuratively long, because it has followed a loss each time. Not so on Saturday night, as a 4-2 victory over the Big Red gave the Bulldogs reason to celebrate on the 260-mile ride back.
"The keys were being really aggressive, intercepting, tackling hard, and finally putting our goals in," said head coach Pam Stuper of the historic win. "We stuck with our game plan, and the kids knew what we wanted to do."
That game plan included an impressive first half. The Bulldogs (2-5, 1-1 Ivy) made an early penalty corner goal by senior midfielder Heather Orrico (assisted by senior forward/midfielder Lindsay Collins and junior forward/midfielder Harriet Thayer) stand up for a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. Senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Friedlander made two huge saves on shots by Lizzie Auer, then came up with an even bigger play. The officials ruled that Orrico had illegally touched a Cornell penalty corner, giving Katlyn Donoghue a chance to tie the game on a penalty stroke. Friedlander dove for the save, one of 10 on the game for her, to keep the lead intact.
"I think we controlled the game for the first half," Stuper said. "The second half was more back-and-forth. Cornell had some nice runs."
Before the Big Red (4-2, 2-1 Ivy) could get momentum going, however, the Bulldogs extended their lead. Goals by senior midfielder Rachel Lentz (assisted by Orrico) and Collins (assisted by Lentz) made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to play.
A penalty corner tally by Belen Martinez broke up the shutout at 53:24, but Yale answered with another Orrico-to-Lentz goal to get the lead back to three. Katie Bradshaw's penalty stroke goal at 63:22 got the score to 4-2 but Cornell would come no closer.
Yale's last win over Cornell on the road was a 1-0 victory Oct. 5, 1985. The four-goal output ties Yale's record for most goals in a game against Cornell (set in a 4-1 win Oct. 3, 1981) and marks just the second time in the last 27 games Yale has surpassed the three-goal plateau. Lentz now has three goals in the last three games after notching the first of her career a week ago at Northwestern.
"They outshot us, but we took advantage of our shots," Stuper said. "We knew we had to play very good defense, because they're a very good scoring team."
Stuper also praised Yale's efforts, particularly those of sophomore left back Laura Pierce, in shutting down Cornell's Brenna Gulotta. Gulotta had entered the game tied for the team lead in points (2-1-5) but was held scoreless by the Bulldogs.
Yale returns to Johnson Field to host Sacred Heart Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity