The Bulldogs aim to continue their recent winning ways under new head coach Pam Stuper in 2005. After claiming back-to-back ECAC titles in 2002 and 2003, Yale endured some tough breaks last season - including three one-goal losses in Ivy League play. Eleven letterwinners, including six starters, return this season with an eye towards starting the Stuper era off right.
The senior class anchors what should be a strong Yale defense. Captain Marly Gillece, a back, has 39 games of experience and all the necessary leadership skills. Kate Crandall made 12 starts in goal last season, leading the team in save percentage (.732) and goals-against average (2.23). She finished fifth in the Ivy League in GAA and was fourth in saves per game (5.92). Classmates Grace Morris, a midfielder, and Katie Rivkin, a forward, are two passionate players who play key roles in generating offense. Morris appeared in 16 games last season, starting five, while Rivkin appeared in 15 games and started two.
The junior class is deep and, if healthy, can provide the bulk of Yale's scoring. Trish Bissett was honorable mention All-Ivy as a freshman, scoring five goals, but was limited to just four games last season by an injury. Bissett has national team experience in her native Canada and can play midfield or forward. Speedy Lindsay Collins also missed time with an injury last season but started all 13 games she was healthy for. She is one of the prime generators of attack at the midfield position. Yale also looks for more offense out of forwards Rachel Lentz and Allison Spitzer this season.
The junior class also includes some of Yale's top defenders. Back Heather Orrico and goalkeeper Elizabeth Friedlander both were selected for USA Field Hockey's Elite Performance Training Center. Orrico started all 17 games last season and was a leader on the field, while Friedlander saw time in six games and posted a 2.50 goals-against average. Rounding out the junior class are defender Emily Palilonis, who started 16 games last season and has 26 starts for her career, and back Jenn Slough, who made her varsity debut last season.
The sophomore class is loaded with potential. Forward Cat Lindroth scored two goals in 17 games last season and has all the tools needed to become an impact player. Forward Lorrie Kiger missed last season rehabbing from an injury and could add to Yale's attack this season. Back Beth Raveche has the bloodlines - her sister Bernice was a captain on Penn's Ivy championship team last season - and should contribute both offensively and defensively. Classmate Harriet Thayer, who participated at the Elite Performance Training Center along with Friedlander and Orrico, is coming off an honorable mention All-Ivy campaign that saw her contribute five assists in 17 starts.
The Class of 2009 brings an impressive list of accomplishments to New Haven and could contribute immediately. Alyssa Jethani (Vancouver, B.C.) can play forward or midfield and led Crofton House to three medals at AA Provincials. Midfielder Laura Pierce (Rutland, Vt.) was an NFHCA Regional All-American. Midfielder Ali Rotondo (Greenville, N.C.) earned an All-American nomination for Arendell Parrott Academy, where she was a four-time MVP. Forward Jayna Whitcher (North Falmouth, Mass.) was a Boston Globe All-Star after leading Falmouth to its first undefeated season.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity