October 7, 2007

Win Streak at Five as Yale Edges Holy Cross 2-1

Oct. 7, 2007

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WORCESTER, Mass. - Sophomore back Julia Weiser's bouncing shot that eluded Holy Cross goalkeeper Erin Singleton at 27:28 of the first half proved to be the game-winner as Yale came away with a 2-1 win over the Crusaders Sunday afternoon at Hart Turf Field. The victory extended the Bulldogs' winning streak to five games, the team's longest streak within a season since 2003.

The Bulldogs held a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal in the first half, but Singleton kept her team in the game with eight saves. Holy Cross (3-10) took the lead briefly at 7:26 when Alanna Sikorski scored after a Crusader corner, taking a pass in front and lifting the ball up past Yale sophomore goalkeeper Charlotte Goins.

Yale responded a minute later off a corner of its own. Sophomore forward Ashley McCauley inserted the ball to senior forward/midfielder Harriet Thayer for the stick stop, and senior back Beth Raveche lined a low, hard shot into the net for her first career goal.

"I was very proud of how, when we got scored on, we went right back down and put one in," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "As a coach, you always talk about doing that, but it doesn't always happen."

Later in the half, with heavy traffic in front of the net, Weiser's shot bounced in to give Yale a lead it would not relinquish. It was also Weiser's first career tally.

Singleton kept the Crusaders within striking distance with a pair of saves in one sequence right after Weiser's goal, stopping shots by McCauley and senior back Lorrie Kiger. She also came charging out to break up a run by junior forward Alyssa Jethani after a nice pass from McCauley with just over a minute to play in the half.

The second half turned into a defensive struggle. Goins, who had her scoreless streak of 107:29 snapped by Sikorski's goal, made eight of her nine saves in the second. She also got help from freshman midfielder/back Marissa Waldemore. After Goins stopped one Holy Cross attempt on a corner, the ball wound up on the stick of a Crusader player on the other side of the net with Goins too far away to make a play. But Waldemore lunged forward and got her stick up to deflect the shot away and keep the 2-1 lead intact.

A diving save by Goins stopped a Holy Cross corner with less than 20 minutes to play, and Waldemore cleared the rebound. That was the fourth straight corner for the Crusaders, who appeared to have seized some momentum. But the Bulldogs battled back, including a penalty corner of their own with seven minutes to play, and with 4:51 to play the Crusaders called time to try to regroup.

Sophomore midfielder Katie Cantore broke up the first Holy Cross pass after the timeout, and freshman back Vicki Gordon delivered an even bigger play moments later. The Crusaders appeared to have a breakaway, but Gordon dove to the turf to break up the play and allow the Yale defense to regroup.

Gordon was one of several substitutes the Bulldogs used midway through the second half in an attempt to combat any fatigue from the previous day's double-overtime game against Dartmouth in hot, humid conditions.

"We knew going in we were going to use more of the bench," Stuper said. "Everyone who came in did a nice job using the legs they had -- keeping up the attack, playing good defense and staying organized."

Senior forward Cat Lindroth disrupted Holy Cross' final possession with under a minute to play, and she and Thayer killed off the game's final seconds with some ball control deep in Crusader territory.

Yale has outscored its opponents 16-3 during the five-game winning streak. Over the last six games Goins has a .918 save percentage (45 saves, four goals allowed) and a 0.64 goals against average.

This is the first time in four years that Yale (6-5, 0-2 Ivy) has been over .500 this late in the season. The Bulldogs have already surpassed last season's victory total. They have six games remaining, starting next Saturday against Harvard at Johnson Field. The team will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of Yale field hockey all weekend.

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