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Ivy League Showdown in Philly Saturday as Yale Visits Penn

Jessie Accurso. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jessie Accurso. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Within One of .500 Mark

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team travels to Philadelphia this weekend to take on a much-improved Penn team that features the nation's leader in goals per game and points per game. The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games, climbing to within one win of the .500 mark after starting the season 1-4.

Yale (6-7, 2-2 Ivy League) is coming off a weekend sweep, beating Dartmouth 4-3 in regulation and Maine 4-3 in overtime at Johnson Field. Sophomore midfielder Nicole Wells (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) scored the game-winning goal each time -- with 25 seconds left in regulation on Saturday and 7:27 into overtime Sunday. She now has career highs in goals, assists and points this year (3-3-9). Wells is one of four Pennsylvania natives on Yale's roster, a list that also includes junior forward Jessie Accurso (Jamison, Pa.), junior forward Grace McInerney (Blue Bell, Pa.) and freshman midfielder Kelsey Nolan (Lancaster, Pa.). Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey, is a Pennsylvania native as well.

Junior Heather Schlesier (San Diego, Calif.) stopped a career-high 15 shots against Maine and is now second in the Ivy League in save percentage (.756). Schlesier has been on a roll for the last month; since Oct. 22 she has stopped 42 of 53 shots (.792). She and senior Emily Cain (Laytonsville, Md.) have combined for a pair of shutouts this year. Cain has a .714 save percentage and a 2.83 goals-against average.

Two Bulldogs are in the top 15 nationally in assists per game. Senior midfielder Emily Schuckert (Wilmington, Del.), who assisted on Wells' game-winning goal Saturday, has an Ivy League-best nine assists in 13 games. Senior forward/midfielder Erica Borgo (Randolph, N.J.), who got the 35th assist of her career Sunday (third on Yale's all-time list), has at least one point in nine of Yale's 13 games this season. She is fifth on Yale's career points list (25-35-85).

Borgo (6-8-20) is Yale's leading scorer, followed by senior midfielder/back Georgia Holland (Stony Brook, N.Y.) (7-4-18), Yale's captain. Senior forward Gabby Garcia (Garden City, N.Y.)  leads the team in shooting percentage (.364).

Holland's amazing five-defensive save effort on Sunday has propelled her to third in the nation in defensive saves with seven for the year. All five of those defensive saves Sunday came in the first half, meaning that Holland had more defensive saves in one half than 43 NCAA teams have had for the whole season.

Last year's 3-2 loss to Penn snapped a streak of three straight wins in the series for Yale, though almost every game in recent years has been close. Since 1994, 16 of the 20 meetings between these two teams have been decided by one goal. Two years ago at Penn, second-half goals from Garcia and Borgo gave the Bulldogs a come-from-behind 2-1 win that proved critical en route to earning a share of the Ivy League championship.

Penn (10-3, 3-1 Ivy League) has reached the 10-win mark for the first time since 2004 and has won four of its last five games. The Quakers have improved their win total for three straight seasons under Colleen Fink, who is in her fourth season. They won three games her first season, four games her second season and nine games last season.

Attacker Jasmine Cole, a freshman, leads the nation in goals per game and points per game (16-3-35 in 13 games). Attacker/midfielder Emily Corcoran gives the Quakers a second player in the top 15 nationally in both of those categories. Corcoran is ninth in points per game and 15th in goals per game (12-8-32 in 13 games). She has scored five game-winning goals.

Carly Sokach has played every minute in goal for the Quakers. She is third in the Ivy League with a .746 save percentage and has a 2.17 goals-against average.

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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity