April 24, 2008

Challenging Schedule for 2008 Includes Pair of Final Four Teams

April 24, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale field hockey program has always made a point of scheduling challenging non-league games in addition to its seven Ivy League contests. That trend continues with the 2008 schedule, which was released Thursday. Yale's 10 non-Ivy games include matchups against defending national champion North Carolina and national semifinalist UConn. In all, six of Yale's 17 opponents ended last season either ranked in the national poll or receiving votes.

Yale's season starts with two of its toughest opponents, Big East teams Providence and UConn. Yale visits the Friars, who went 14-8 and ended the year ranked No. 20, in the season opener Sunday Sept. 7. The Bulldogs then host the Huskies, who went 22-3 and advanced to the Final Four, on Wednesday Sept. 10. The Huskies ended the season ranked No. 4 in the country, losing to UNC in the Final Four. The Bulldogs were one of only three teams to hold them to one goal last year, losing 1-0.

After a non-league game vs. Holy Cross on Saturday Sept. 13, Ivy League play opens in earnest with Yale visiting archrival Harvard Saturday Sept. 20. The last four games in this series have all been decided by just one goal, with each team winning two.

Yale starts a three-game home stand with a game against Sacred Heart Sunday Sept. 21. Ivy League play then resumes with a visit by Princeton Saturday Sept.27. The Tigers went 6-1 in the league last season to claim their 13th title in the last 14 years. That included a 2-0 win over the Bulldogs.

The day after the Princeton game Yale hosts Lock Haven, which went 17-6 and was among the teams also receiving votes in the national poll at the end of the year.

The Bulldogs then hit the road in a big way, playing four straight games away from Johnson Field. The weekend of Oct. 4 and 5 includes a visit to Cornell, which finished tied with Columbia for second in the Ivy League, and Big East foe Syracuse, which went 12-7 and was among the teams receiving votes in the national poll.

A neutral-site showdown at Boston College against North Carolina looms on Sunday Oct. 12. The Tar Heels went 24-0 last season en route to their fifth national title and a No. 1 ranking. They led the country in both scoring average (4.38 goals per game) and goals-against average (0.60 goals allowed per game, including 16 shutouts).

A visit to Dartmouth Oct. 18 marks Yale's third straight weekend hitting the road. The Bulldogs beat the Big Green in a 1-0 double-overtime thriller last season in New Haven, their fifth win in the last six games against Dartmouth. After returning from Hanover Yale hosts Hofstra Oct. 19.

During Parents' Weekend Yale hosts Ivy foe Penn on Saturday Oct. 25. The series with the Quakers has been marked by close games; 12 of the last 15 have been decided by one goal, including Penn's 4-3 overtime win last year. The Bulldogs make the short trip down I-95 to play at Fairfield the day after hosting the Quakers.

Yale plays its final home games of the regular season Nov. 1 and 2, hosting Columbia and local rival Quinnipiac. The game against the Bobcats will mark Senior Day, as Yale pays tribute to the Class of 2009: forward Alyssa Jethani (Vancouver, B.C.), forward Laura Pierce (Rutland, Vt.), team captain midfielder Ali Rotondo (Greenville, N.C.) and forward Jayna Whitcher (North Falmouth, Mass.).

The Bulldogs end the regular season with a visit to Brown Saturday Nov. 8.

Yale returns three All-Ivy players from last season, when the team put together a six-game winning streak that was its longest in four years: forward Ashley McCauley (Rye, N.Y.) and goalkeeper Charlotte Goins (New Bern, N.C.) were second team selections and midfielder Katie Cantore (Hershey, Pa.) was honorable mention. McCauley finished second in the country in goals per game (15 in 17 games) and sixth in points per game (35 in 17 games). Goins was third in the country in save percentage (.804) and fifth in saves per game (8.71). All three will be juniors next year.

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

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