Columbia, Quinnipiac Visit for Final Home Games of the Season

Columbia, Quinnipiac Visit for Final Home Games of the Season

Oct. 29, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The final home games of the 2008 season take place this weekend at Johnson Field, with Yale hosting Columbia (Saturday, Noon, GameTracker) and Quinnipiac (Sunday, 1:00, GameTracker). The Bulldogs will honor the four members of the senior class: forward Alyssa Jethani (Vancouver, B.C.), forward Laura Pierce (Rutland, Vt.), midfielder Ali Rotondo (Greenville, N.C.) and forward Jayna Whitcher (North Falmouth, Mass.).

The members of the Class of 2009 have helped Yale to 23 wins since joining the team in 2005, including a pair of victories over Harvard and the team's highest single-season win total since 2003 (last year). The Bulldogs can top that mark if they win their final three games this season.

Jethani, a vocal leader, has persevered through injury to become a steady contributor for the Bulldogs. She has missed just two games in the last three seasons, and provided one of the highlights of the 2006 season when she scored her first collegiate goal in the season finale against Brown to help Yale to a 3-1 win and a second-place finish in the Ivy League standings. She is a two-time NFHCA All-Academic Team honoree and has played in 53 games for her career, totaling three goals and three assists.

Pierce, who scored her first collegiate goal last season against No. 18 Syracuse, has contributed at a variety of positions throughout her career. She has appeared in 45 games for her career and is a two-time NFHCA All-Academic Team honoree. She also won Yale's Senior Award as a freshman, which is given annually to the player who reflects positive contribution to the team's philosophy and whose individual character encourages the future direction and excellence of Yale field hockey.

Rotondo, the 2008 team captain, has played the most games of any senior (60). She scored her first collegiate goal last season at Penn. A three-time NFHCA All-Academic Team honoree, she has appeared in every game over the past two seasons, including 29 starts.

Whitcher, who brings tremendous stick skills to the team, has played in 37 games for her career. She had her first career assist in Yale's 6-2 win at Hofstra last season, then scored her first career goal in the 7-0 win over Fairfield.

The Bulldogs enter the final three games of the season on a roll, having outscored their last four opponents 12-6. With eight saves in a 3-0 shutout of Fairfield last Sunday, sophomore goalkeeper Katie Bolling (Ann Arbor, Mich.) is second in the country in save percentage (.826), trailing only Penn State's Jenn Beaumont (.831).

Junior forward Ashley McCauley has had a hand in six of those 12 goals Yale has scored in the last four games, scoring five and assisting on another. She is tied for the Ivy League lead in goals (11) and is tied for second in the league in points (24).

Columbia (10-4, 1-4 Ivy League) has five shutouts this season, including four from senior Gena Miller and one from sophomore Erin Conway. Miller has a .740 save percentage and a 1.63 goals-against average. The Lion offense is led by junior forward Christina Buszczak, who has six goals and 10 assists.

Quinnipiac (5-10, 3-3 NEC), which plays at Sacred Heart Thursday, has bounced back from an 0-5 start to the season. The Bobcats' leading scorer is junior forward MacKenzie Liptak (7-1-15). Senior goalie Jenna Grossman has a .752 save percentage and a 2.29 goals-against average.

Yale beat the Bobcats 1-0 last season on a goal by junior midfielder Katie Cantore (Hershey, Pa.) and a shutout from junior goalkeeper Charlotte Goins (New Bern, N.C.).

report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity