Defending Ivy Co-champions Start League Play Saturday
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A weekend on the road will provide two major tests for the Yale field hockey team, as the Bulldogs visit their archrival and then play a nationally ranked foe. The trip to Harvard Saturday marks the start of Ivy League play for Yale, the defending league co-champions. The visit to No. 5 UConn Sunday gives the Bulldogs a chance to measure themselves against a perennial national powerhouse, as the Huskies have made 23 NCAA Tournament appearances -- including each of the last 10 years.
Yale (1-2) has made strides since a 4-0 loss at Fairfield in the season opener. After allowing three goals in the first 10:28 of the season (including two on penalty strokes), the Bulldogs have allowed only four in 129:32 since. Senior Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.) has moved from midfielder to back to shore up the defense in each of the last two games. Junior goalkeeper Emily Cain (Laytonsville, Md.) enters the weekend with a .781 save percentage and a 2.33 goals-against average.
Yale's three goals this season have come from three different players: junior midfielder Erica Borgo (Randolph, N.J.), freshman forward/midfielder Nicole Wells (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and freshman back Molly Wolf (Endwell, N.Y.). Junior forward Gabby Garcia (Garden City, N.Y.) has a pair of assists, and junior forward/midfielder Emily Schuckert (Wilmington, Del.) has one.
With three straight wins over Harvard, the Yale senior class -- Barham, back Lexy Adams (Lancaster, Pa.), goalkeeper Ona McConnell (London, England) and forward Maddy Sharp (San Diego, Calif.) -- now has a chance to become the first class in school history to go 4-0 against the Crimson. Sharp had one of Yale's five goals in the Bulldogs' 5-1 win over Harvard last year.
Harvard (1-3) has a new head coach in Tjerk van Herwaarden, who spent seven seasons as an assistant at Maryland before joining the Crimson. Harvard beat Holy Cross 1-0 in van Herwaarden's debut but has dropped three in a row since, scoring just one goal in that span. Midfielder Caitlin Rea leads the team with a pair of assists and 12 shots. Goalkeeper Cynthia Tassopoulos has a .812 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average. She is a three-time All-Ivy League honoree (honorable mention twice, second team once) and is co-captain of the team along with midfielder Kim Goh.
UConn (5-0), which plays Rutgers in its Big East opener Saturday, has won three straight one-goal games after routing its first two opponents (Bucknell and Sacred Heart) by a combined score of 11-0. Forward/midfielder Marie Elena Bolles, an All-Mideast Region selection last year, leads the team in scoring (6-3-15). Next on that list is forward Chloe Hunnable (3-2-8), another All-Mideast Region selection and the 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year. Goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield, a two-time All-American (first team last year, third team in 2010) has a .880 save percentage and a 0.63 goals-against average.
Every goal Yale scores this season brings the world closer to a cure for myotonic dystrophy. Senior goalkeeper Ona McConnell (London, England) has been diagnosed with the disease, the most common form of muscular dystrophy. The Bulldogs are taking pledges for a season-long "Goal-a-thon" as part of their "Get a Grip" campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.yalebulldogs.com/getagrip
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity