NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Facing one of the stingiest defenses in the nation, the Yale field hockey team got its offense going late in the game Saturday at Johnson Field vs. Cornell. But while scoring a pair of goals in the final five minutes against a Big Red squad that entered the weekend sixth in the nation in goals-against average (1.00) was an impressive feat, it was not enough. By then Cornell had built a 3-0 lead, and the Big Red thus held on for a 3-2 win. First-year midfielder/forward Imogen Davies and junior back Jackie Kisa scored for Yale, and Kisa also had a spectacular defensive save late in the game.
Both teams entered the game having suffered multiple close losses in Ivy League play, with both seeking their first conference win. Cornell (7-3, 1-2 Ivy League) benefitted from a 13-3 shot advantage and 3-1 penalty corner advantage in the first half, taking a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to a goal at 15:11 by forward Grace Royer.
"Cornell traditionally has good goaltending and good defense," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. "This week we really worked a lot on our attack, and generating opportunities. We didn't get enough of them early on."
Yale (5-5, 0-3 Ivy League) reversed the shot advantage in the second -- outshooting the Big Red 14-4 and getting six corners -- but Cornell took advantage of two early opportunities to take a sizable lead. Back/midfielder Sam McILwrick, a second team All-Region and first team All-Ivy pick last year, extended the lead to 2-0 at 44:06 by tucking one inside the far post just past the reach of Yale first-year goalkeeper Sydney Terroso. Forward Krysten Mayers, a second team All-Region and second team All-Ivy pick last year, made it 3-0 at 54:04.
That changed the complexion of the game's final 15 minutes, but the Bulldogs turned up the offensive pressure and made things interesting late. Off a corner at 65:28, Davies poked in the rebound of a shot by senior forward/midfielder Carol Middough to break up the shutout bid by Maddie Henry (who entered the weekend leading the nation in save percentage at .848).
After two more Yale corners came up empty -- with Henry making a diving save on Middough on the second -- Cornell had a golden opportunity to score again as the clock ticked down to the two-minute mark. After Mayers drove in from the top of the circle and Terroso came out to play her one-on-one, Mayers made a move to get past Terroso and had a wide-open net. But Kisa hustled all the way back to get in position for a diving defensive save, knocking the ball safely out of bounds.
As time expired down at the other end of the field two minutes later, the Bulldogs earned a penalty corner -- and decided to give Kisa a chance for her first goal of the season.
"When you have someone that's hot, that's a moment you take advantage of," said Stuper. "As soon as we called that corner, we said let's let Jackie take the shot."
Davies inserted to junior midfielder/back Marissa Medici and Kisa drilled one in for the 3-2 final, a bittersweet end to Yale's third one-goal loss in league play.
"The team, collectively, was trying and we weren't back on our heels," said Stuper. "We had a hard time clicking. Cornell defended well, and we played into their sticks."
Henry and Terroso finished with eight saves each.
Yale returns to action Sunday, hosting Bryant at 2:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity