NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It had already been a memorable weekend for the Yale field hockey program before Sunday's game vs. Liberty went into overtime for a dramatic conclusion. On Saturday the Bulldogs had celebrated the 45th anniversary of the first varsity team, welcomed back former players from every decade for Alumnae Weekend, and witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony for their new home -- Carol Roberts Field House. But one thing was missing from the festivities: a win. The Bulldogs had come within 36 seconds of knocking off No. 16 Harvard Saturday, but a late goal by the Crimson tied the game and Harvard won in overtime. On Sunday, though, the Bulldogs capped the weekend in victorious fashion. Senior forward/midfielder Carol Middough scored the game-winner 9:27 into the extra session for a 1-0 victory over the Lady Flames.
Sophomore midfielder/back Holly Jackson helped get the winning sequence started by reaching out to intercept a long Liberty pass at midfield, then sending the ball right back into Liberty's zone where Middough was waiting outside the circle. Middough dribbled through two defenders and charged towards the goal, where Liberty keeper Allison Schaeffer kicked the ball away -- right back to Middough, who spun around and ripped a shot past Schaeffer's left leg and into the cage for the 1-0 victory.
"Determination," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey, in explaining Middough's play. "You could see it in her face, whenever she came out for breaks. I just told her to see the space around the goalkeeper and to keep shooting."
Middough's heroics would not have been possible without another standout defensive effort from the Bulldogs, led by first-year goalkeeper Sydney Terroso and her seven saves -- following up a 17 save effort on Saturday. Sophomore back Alex MacKay added a defensive save to help produce the team's second shutout in the last four games.
"Our defense was outstanding this weekend; some of the best defense we have played in a long time," said Stuper. "They are working together and reading situations better. The team defense starts from the forwards down."
The win was also a testament to the team's conditioning. While Liberty (3-5, 1-1 Big East) had last played Friday, falling 1-0 at Quinnipiac, Yale had spent Saturday battling its archrival into overtime in 80-degree weather. Conditions were even hotter Sunday, as the sun baked the Johnson Field turf.
"We managed the heat well," said Stuper, who utilized seven players off the bench on Sunday. "It was a team effort on both days. These were two top teams, and we played both of them consistently."
Yale (4-3, 0-1 Ivy League) thus ended Alumnae Weekend on a high note, and as the season nears the halfway mark the Bulldogs have shown themselves to be resilient. They had plenty on their plate this weekend -- including a 45th anniversary celebration dinner Saturday night that included Middough singing with her a capella group, The Unorthojocks. Still, the Bulldogs kept their focus on Liberty heading into Sunday's game.
"What impressed me today is the team made sure they were prepared," said Stuper. "There was no letdown. Yesterday we felt good about our play, but were disappointed with the loss. To bounce back and play another tough team today, coming away with the victory, says a lot."
Yale travels to No. 17 Princeton for an Ivy League game next Friday night.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity