Bulldogs End On Winning Note, Beat Brown 2-1

Mary Beth Barham. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Mary Beth Barham. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

20th Ivy Win in Four Seasons Sets School Record

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The season-long trend of close Ivy League games continued in Sunday's finale for the Yale field hockey team, as the Bulldogs played their sixth Ancient Eight game (out of seven) that was decided by one goal. Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Yale rallied for a 2-1 win behind goals from sophomore forward Jessie Accurso and freshman back Molly Wolf in the second half. Junior forward/midfielder Emily Schuckert assisted on both goals.

Yale (6-11, 4-3 Ivy League) sent its seniors -- back Lexy Adams, midfielder/back Mary Beth Barham, goalkeeper Ona McConnell and forward Maddy Sharp -- out in style with the win. That was the 20th league victory in the last four years for the group (20-8 in league play), more than any class in school history.

Brown (6-11, 1-6 Ivy League) grabbed a lead just before halftime on a goal by forward Clayton Christus, but that was the only shot that got past Yale junior goaltender Emily Cain (three saves). Still, the Bulldogs were nearly stymied by Bears goalkeeper Shannon McSweeney, who finished with 10 saves.

"We had a lot of good opportunities, we just weren't capitalizing," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "We weren't getting the shot we needed, or the tip we needed."

McSweeney held Yale scoreless until there were less than 10 minutes to play, but shortly after Stuper called time out the Bulldogs broke through when Accurso tipped in a hard cross from Schuckert to tie the game.

Yale held a 9-0 advantage in penalty corners for the game, and that wound up being a deciding factor. On a Bulldog corner with two minutes to play, inserter Erica Borgo got the ball to Schuckert, who slid it past a fake by junior forward Gabrielle Garcia. Wolf drilled it in from there for the game-winner.

While the Bulldogs ultimately fell short of defending their Ivy League title from a year ago, they did overcome obstacles of all kinds this season. The loss of the talented Class of 2012 was exacerbated just three games into this season when junior midfielder/back Georgia Holland, a first team All-Ivy League selection in 2011, suffered a season-ending injury. Facing a schedule loaded with some of the top teams in the country -- Yale played four of the current top six teams in the country, and six of the top 21 -- the Bulldogs endured a 1-6 stretch midway through the season. But by the end of the year they were playing some of their best hockey, and they won their final two Ivy games.

"The team battled this year," said Stuper. "There was a lot of adversity and a lot of challenges. It's a tribute to the team and a tribute to the senior class that they did not give up. They kept working every week, trying to find the answer to better play. I think we found that at the end of the season."

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

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