AMHERST, Mass. – The Yale field hockey team added a signature win to its season on Sunday, upsetting No. 23 UMass for the team's first win against a nationally ranked opponent since 2011. First-year midfielder/forward Olivia Levieux scored the game's only goal, assisted by senior forward/midfielder Carol Middough, and first-year goalkeeper Sydney Terroso made that lead stand with a nine-save effort. This was her third shutout of the season.
Yale (8-6, 1-4 Ivy League) was coming off a 1-0 loss of its own, Friday at Penn, but got off to a good start on the unseasonably warm and sunny Sunday afternoon at Gladchuk Field Hockey Complex. On a counterattack, Middough drove the ball down the left side and drew the attention of the defense before passing it over to Levieux, whose shot from just inside the top of the circle bounced past UMass goalkeeper Emily Hazard at 13:15.
That would be all the scoring Terroso and the Yale defense would need. She made one of her best saves of the day with seven minutes left in the first, diving out to smother a shot by UMass forward Sarah Hawkshaw. With two minutes left in the half, junior back Jackie Kisa knocked away another shot attempt by Hawkshaw to keep the lead intact at the break.
The second half was dominated by the play of Yale's defensive corner unit, which kept UMass scoreless on six attempts in the game's final 31 minutes. As the game entered the final 12 minutes, the home crowd began getting louder and more involved, but sophomore midfielder Holly Jackson stymied the Minutewomen's fourth corner attempt by blocking a shot.
"Our defensive corner unit has gotten stronger throughout the year," said Stuper. "They've watched the film needed to prepare, and gotten to the point where it's just a matter of going out there and using their instincts."
With 4:27 to play, UMass momentarily appeared to tie the game as a high shot on a corner by defender Georgie McTear eluded Terroso. But the shot was ruled too high, wiping out the goal and keeping the Bulldogs ahead 1-0.
UMass (11-7, 5-2 Atlantic 10) pulled Hazard for a kicking back after a timeout with 3:41 left, but on the Minutewomen's final corner first-year midfielder/forward Imogen Davies blocked an attempt by midfielder Mirra Stillman. A tackle by Jackson at the top of the circle with 20 seconds left extinguished UMass' last hopes of a comeback.
Terroso finished the weekend with 14 saves on 15 shots. She has allowed one goal or no goals in five of her last eight games.
"She has had a great season, and was so good in goal today," said Stuper. "That shutout was key -- we were fortunate to get one goal in on a really good team early, and Sydney made it stand up."
The last time Yale as a team had three shutouts in a season was six years ago. The Bulldogs' defensive performance this year is even more remarkable given that the team lost an All-Ivy League back and the team's Player of the Year for 2016, senior captain Kiwi Comizio, before the season even began -- she was injured last spring while playing lacrosse.
"When Kiwi got hurt, the very next day our defensive unit came out, looked at each other, and said 'We've got to step it up'," said Stuper. "From that moment on, they have worked at doing that."
This was Yale's first win vs. a team ranked in the NFHCA poll since a 3-2 win at No. 14 Northwestern Oct. 9, 2011. The Bulldogs resume play next Saturday at Columbia.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity