FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Falling behind 3-0 in the first 11 minutes of the 2012 season opener -- including two goals on penalty strokes -- proved to be too big of a deficit for the Yale field hockey team to overcome Friday afternoon at Fairfield. The Stags scored just once in the final 59 minutes, but the Bulldogs could not muster any offense of their own and fell 4-0. Junior goalkeeper Emily Cain made 15 saves.
With six starters lost to graduation from last year's Ivy League championship squad, the Bulldogs had to put some of their younger players to the test immediately. Three freshmen started, including one at forward, one at midfield and one at back. The first signs of trouble for Yale (0-1) came just 45 seconds in, but an apparent Fairfield goal at that time was waved off as the ball had hit off a Stag player's body.
But shortly after that, following a diving save by Cain, the Stags got the game's first penalty corner. And that led to the game's first penalty stroke, which defender Felicitas Heinen rifled past Cain at 29:02 to put the Stags ahead 1-0.
Just over a minute later, after another Cain save, the Stags controlled the rebound and forward Hillary Fitts crossed the ball for forward Lindsey Hatch to deflect it in. Three minutes later, another penalty stroke goal by Heinen made the score 3-0.
Head coach Pam Stuper called time and the Bulldogs began to settle down. They wound up getting nine corners in the remainder of the half, but could not convert any of them into goals.
Fairfield (1-2) pulled further ahead when Hatch stole the ball deep in Yale's end, got Cain down on the ground and put one past her at 43:03.
Saves (including a defensive save by defender Val Buurma) on shots by senior back Lexy Adams, senior forward/midfielder Mary Beth Barham and junior midfielder Erica Borgo after a Yale penalty corner in the final minute helped clinch the shutout for Fairfield goalie Maddy Sposito. She finished with eight saves.
"The challenges we were faced with today will make us stronger -- if we learn from them, we'll find the success we want the rest of the season," said Stuper.
Yale hosts Quinnipiac Sunday at 1 pm. in the first home game, which marks the launch of the team's "Get a Grip" campaign vs. myotonic dystrophy in honor of senior goalie Ona McConnell. For more information, visit http://www.yalebulldogs.com/getagrip
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity