No. 7 Virginia Prevails in Opener

Danee Fitzgerald. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Danee Fitzgerald. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Garcia Tallies First Goal of Season for Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team had a tough task in its season opener Friday afternoon at Johnson Field, hosting a Virginia team that was ranked No. 7 in the country and playing its third game after starting the season with a pair of wins. The Bulldogs held off the Cavaliers at the start, but a goal by forward Caleigh Foust at the 10:09 mark of the first started a stretch where Virginia scored five goals in a span of less than 30 minutes. Senior forward Gabby Garcia ended that run by scoring Yale's first goal at the 44:43 mark, but the Cavaliers eventually came away with a 6-1 win.

Junior Heather Schlesier and senior Emily Cain split time in goal for Yale (0-1, 0-0 Ivy League). Schlesier stopped 10 of 13 shots in the first half and Cain stopped six of nine in the second. Virginia keeper Jenny Johnstone made one save, using her blocker to deny a shot by senior forward/midfielder Erica Borgo less than three minutes into the game.

Virginia (3-0, 0-0 ACC) got three goals from Foust, two from three-time All-American forward Elly Buckley and one from forward Riley Tata. The Cavaliers finished with 30 shots, and would have had a couple more goals were it not for defensive saves from freshman back Steffi Katz and senior midfielder/back Georgia Holland.

"What was important to me was that we learned a lot about ourselves today -- what we can handle defensively, with a lot of pressure and speed, and how to generate attack vs. a solid, top team," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey.

One bright spot for the Bulldogs was the goal by Garcia, which came on a breakaway that she set up with help from Borgo. Garcia dribbled around Johnstone -- who came far out of the cage to challenge the play -- and then finished with her fifth career goal and first since 2011.

"That was a beautiful breakaway," said Stuper. "Erica and Gabby combined well, and it was important for Gabby to finish it off. That gave us a little momentum."

Yale's defensive penalty corner unit also performed well, allowing only one goal on 13 attempts.

"Our defensive penalty corner unit continues to be a strength," said Stuper. "It's nice to see that. We just need to minimize the opportunities we're giving in the circle."

In addition to the new turf, which is royal blue, the Bulldogs also debuted new uniforms at the game. Yale hosts Sacred Heart Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity