Field hockey eliminated from title race

by Ellie Gonzalez | 11/4/14 4:18pm

11.5.14.sports.field-hockey.horiz_Abiah-Pritchard
The field hockey team has posted a 1-4 record since a 5-4 OT win over Holy Cross Homecoming Weekend.
Source: Abiah Pritchard

The field hockey team was officially eliminated from Ivy League title contention this weekend after a 3-1 loss to Harvard University on Saturday. The team (5-11, 3-3 Ivy) also fell to the University of New Hampshire on Sunday for its fourth straight loss.

The season has been full of streaks — the team started out 0-5 before winning three in a row, and traded two-game winning and losing streaks before dropping the last four.

“We had a lot of success when we had our streak of three wins in a row,” Morgan Philie ’18 said. “Then we kind of got into a lull and we kind of dropped the ball when we needed to push through for our Ivy record.”

The streaky season has also been mirrored in the team’s goal production. In 11 losses, the Big Green scored only 11 goals, with four shutouts. In contrast, the team scored 23 goals in its five wins.

“We just have to push through and focus on what’s really been working well for us, and hopefully if we continue that then we can find the back of the net and show Cornell who’s boss,” Philie said.

The game against the Crimson (9-7, 3-3 Ivy) was even through the first half. Neither team found the net in the opening 35 minutes, despite 13 total shots — due in large part to the spectacular play of goalie Ellen Meyer ’15, who notched five saves in the first half to keep the game knotted at zero.

“We played some of the best field hockey we’ve played all season, so passing sequences were great, our cuts and off-wall movement were really great as well,” Jenna Schwenk ’17 said, “but the problem that we had was finishing, which ultimately is the point of the game, so I think that aspect of it could have been improved.”

Dartmouth came out firing to start the second half, but could not get past Harvard junior goalie Issy Davies.

“We have a tendency to look more forward to a perfect pass or a perfect opportunity,” Meyer said. “We are kind of waiting for something better to show up. We just need to finish more, score more and take advantage of the opportunities we have.”

Five minutes into the frame, the Crimson put a rebound past Meyer for the game’s first goal. The Big Green, however, did not go quietly and rebounded quickly to tie the game in the 45th minute on a goal by Brooke Van Valkenburg ’16 off a penalty corner. Anna Ewasechko ’18 and Janine Leger ’15 tallied assists.

Harvard senior Caitlin Rea then took the game over, not letting the Big Green take the advantage. Her first goal of the game came just a minute and a half after Van Valkenburg’s to deflate any momentum the Big Green had on the scoreboard. Rea’s goal in the 68th minute put the game out of reach for the Big Green.

Meyer finished the contest with 10 saves in her final home contest.

The next day, the Big Green came out flat against UNH (8-11). The Wildcats outshot the Big Green 16-2 in the first half and also won the penalty corner battle 7-0. Another strong performance by Meyer, however, kept the Big Green in the thick of it. The senior’s nine first-half saves limited the Wildcats to just three first-half goals.

The Big Green turned it around in the second half, outshooting UNH 9-5 and taking four penalty corners to none. Julia Donald ’18 got the Big Green on the board in the third minute after half, with her fourth goal of the season. Yet UNH’s fourth goal just five minutes later sealed the deal for the Wildcats.

Despite being mathematically eliminated from title contention, the Big Green still has one game to play against third-place Cornell University (10-5, 4-2 Ivy), which remains in contention for an Ivy title. The game starts at noon in Ithaca, New York.

“We are approaching it like we have every other game,” Meyer said. “Going out, having fun, getting better and enjoying this last opportunity of the year before we head into off-season training.”