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Season Opener Saturday vs. Sacred Heart

Season Opener Saturday vs. Sacred Heart

YALE-SACRED HEART SATURDAY 12:00 P.M.

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Two local teams that are quite familiar with each other meet Saturday as the Yale field hockey team opens the 2017 season at home against Sacred Heart (12:00 p.m., Ivy League Network). The Bulldogs and the Pioneers have met every year since 2001 -- and Sacred Heart utilizes Johnson Field as its home turf.

YALE OUTLOOK

The 2016 season was marked by dramatic progress for the Yale field hockey team, as the Bulldogs more than doubled their win total from the previous season. They also increased their goal scoring by a whopping 75 percent while decreasing their goals allowed by 13 percent. With those positive trends in place, eight players who started 11 or more games for Yale in 2016 remain on the roster for 2017. Those players -- along with seven other returnees and six talented incoming freshmen -- give the Bulldogs reason to believe they can make more strides in 2017.

CAPTAIN KIWI

Kiwi Comizio, elected captain by her teammates, has started all 51 games of her career and was a second team All-Ivy pick last year. She earned Yale's Player of the Year Award, finishing second in the league and first on the team in assists with a career-high nine. She was also an NFHCA National Academic Squad for the third straight season.

MIDDOUGH AN ALL-IVY RETURNEE

Senior forward Carol Middough (Oceanport, N.J.) was a second team All-Ivy League selection last season, when she led the team in goals and points (10-3-23) for the second year in a row. Middough achieved career highs in all three scoring categories last year, and factored in 37 percent (13 of 35) of the team's goals. One of the team's top options on attack penalty corners, Middough can play forward or midfield.

FAMILY TIES

Senior sisters Katie Smith (Duxbury, Mass.) and Lily Smith (Duxbury, Mass.) are identical twins who play the same positions (midfielder/forward) and also play lacrosse for Yale. Katie started 15 games for the field hockey team last season and Lily started 11.

In addition to the Smiths, two Yale players have sisters who play/played NCAA field hockey. Junior back Jackie Kisa (Virginia Beach, Va.) has a twin sister (Kristin) playing for Davidson and senior back Tess Thompson (Ann Arbor, Mich.) has a sister (Molly) who played for Georgetown.

CLASS OF 2021

Yale welcomes six freshmen to the roster for the 2017 season. The group comes from six different high schools and three different U.S. states, along with one from Scotland and one from South Africa.

Two freshmen, Anissa Abboud (Bethlehem, Pa.) and Sarah King (Davidsonville, Md.), could play forward or midfield. Abboud set the school records for goals in a season and a career at Liberty High School, where she also helped the team set the school record for wins in a season. King was named Player of the Year by both the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post last year after captaining her team to a win in the Maryland Class 4A State Championship.

The freshmen class adds greatly to Yale's midfield depth -- and international flavor, with three different countries represented at that position. Iliana Cabral (Camarillo, Calif.) is a three-time National Futures Championship selection who served as captain of the Moorpark club team for three seasons. Imogen Davies (Kilmacolm, Scotland) has played for Scotland's U16 and U18 teams, while also captaining the team at St. Columba's School. Olivia Levieux (Johannesburg, South Africa), who could also play forward, was captain of the Gauteng (state) team in South Africa twice, and captain of her team at St. Stithians' Girls' College as well.

Freshman goalie Sydney Terroso (York, Pa.) brings impressive credentials to New Haven, having been a first team all-league selection for the last two years at Dallastown Area High School. She set her school's record for shutouts in a season and helped the team to league and county championships all four years of her career, including an undefeated record this past season.

PAM STUPER, YALE'S CAROLINE RUTH THOMPSON '02 HEAD COACH OF FIELD HOCKEY

Pam Stuper, a member of the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame who has been a part of four NCAA championship teams, is in her 13th year as Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. Yale's assistant coaches are Mary Beth Barham '13 and Jess Barnett.

Stuper led the Bulldogs to an Ivy League championship in 2011 -- the school's first since 1980. The championship came as part of a remarkable run of success for the Bulldogs in recent years under Stuper, the 2009 NFHCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year. They went 24-11 in the Ivy League in the five seasons from 2009 through 2013, the second-best record in the league in that span. Yale finished the 2011 season with a school-record 69 goals, marking the sixth straight season the Bulldogs increased their goal total over the previous year.

SCOUTING SACRED HEART

Sacred Heart (1-1, 0-0 MAAC) opened its season with a split last weekend, including a 4-1 loss at Lock Haven and a 3-2 win at St. Francis. Preseason All-MAAC midfielder Nichole Tolli scored the game-winning goal Sunday at St. Francis with 6:50 left in the game. The Pioneers got seven saves from their goalies -- six from Hailey Power (who played the first half) and one from Emily Degennaro (who played the second half). Through the first two games Tolli and forward/midfielder Kelsy Hopkins have both generated a team-high four shots.

Sacred Heart has played its home games at Johnson Field since the 2015 season. After Saturday, the Pioneers have seven regular season games left at Johnson Field this year.

YALE-SACRED HEART HISTORY

Yale and Sacred Heart have met every year since 2001, with the Bulldogs holding a 13-3 advantage in the series. Last year, the Bulldogs won 2-0 as sophomore forward/midfielder Camille Scheyer (Glencoe, Ill.) and junior forward Brooke Reese (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) scored first-half goals and the Yale defense limited the Pioneers to two shots and no shots on goal. Emilie Katz '17 got the shutout.

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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity