NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team was 36 seconds away from victory against No. 16 Harvard Saturday afternoon -- a win that would have made an already memorable Alumnae Weekend even more special. But the Crimson was intent on playing spoiler, and did so by tying the game on a last-minute goal by forward Kathleen Young and winning it 4:34 into overtime on a goal by midfielder Tessel Huibregtsen. The loss overshadowed an otherwise standout performance from Yale first-year goalkeeper Sydney Terroso, whose 17 saves were almost enough to make Yale's lone goal -- by senior forward/midfielder Carol Middough -- stand up.
The day began in celebration for Yale, as the field hockey team and the softball team joined in a groundbreaking ceremony for Carol Roberts Field House -- the new facility that will house both teams, named after lead donor Carol Roberts '81. The dozens of alums and supporters of the program on hand for that event then settled into their seats at Johnson Field for what would turn into an epic battle between two long-time rivals.
The temperature was an unseasonably warm 81 degrees, and bright sunshine pounded the blue turf at Johnson -- turning this game into even more of a test of wills.
"Both teams had to manage that," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. "It meant subbing more often."
Yale (3-3, 0-1 Ivy League) grabbed the lead early thanks for the tenacity of Middough, who followed up her own blocked shot with a reverse stick shot past Harvard goalie Libby Manela at 19:27.
"Carol played a great game, and was all over them from the start," said Stuper. "That was how she produced that goal."
The game soon turned into the Sydney Terroso Show, with Yale's standout rookie nearly carrying her team to victory. She was solid in the first half -- stopping both shots she saw, including a nice blocker save on back Olivia Allin on Harvard's second corner. And in the second half she was even better, as Harvard racked up 19 shots but struggled to solve Terroso. She got some help from classmate midfielder/forward Imogen Davies, who blocked a shot on Harvard's first corner of the half. Terroso then made another stop a minute later and junior back Jackie Kisa cleared the ball out of the circle.
The frequency of Harvard shots began increasing as the half wore on, with Terroso denying midfielder Casey Allen on Harvard's fourth corner of the game and Huibregtsen sending the follow-up wide. With 25 minutes to play, Terroso kicked away a shot from Young on a one-on-one to keep the Yale lead intact. Sophomore back/midfielder Tara Litjens then came up with an interception to stop a Harvard breakaway four minutes later.
The athletic Terroso showed her quickness on Harvard's seventh corner, kicking away one shot and then making a pad save on the follow-up with 12 minutes to play. On the Crimson's ninth corner she had the crowd cheering with a leaping pad save on Allin.
Harvard (5-2, 1-0 Ivy League) upped the pressure after a timeout with 5:26 left, bringing in Victoria Boylett as a kicking back and taking out Manela. Still, Bulldog sophomore back Holly Jackson made a critical clear with two minutes to play and Terroso added a pad save with 90 seconds left to keep the Crimson scoreless. Yale seemed on pace to knock off the defending Ivy League champions.
It was after another great save by Terroso, who went down to stop a shot by midfielder Bente van Vlijmen, that the Crimson was finally able to get the equalizer. Young knocked in the loose ball with 36 seconds left to knot the game 1-1.
Just 19 days earlier Harvard had scored in the final minute of regulation and taken No. 13 Stanford to double overtime before losing; this time around, the Crimson took full advantage of the extra session. A great tackle by Jackson denied a chance for forward Mimi Tarrant on the left side three minutes in, and Terroso made a kick save on Tarrant shortly after that. But after another stop, Huibregtsen was able to knock in her first career goal and bring the battle to an end in favor of the Crimson, 2-1.
"Sydney kept us in that game," said Stuper. "In the first half we had momentum and I think we were able to frustrate them. In the second half, we knew that Harvard was going to come at us. We did everything we could to try to keep them off the scoreboard. We knew beating them in overtime was going to be a tough battle, but I look at all the good things that led us to that point of nearly beating them in regulation."
One of those good things was the support the Bulldogs felt all day long from an alumnae group that -- in addition to the groundbreaking ceremony -- was also on hand to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first varsity field hockey team at Yale. Those alums and friends in the stands clearly made a difference.
"Having the alumnae here, and the energy they brought from the groundbreaking ceremony to the game, means a lot to this team," said Stuper. "It's a tradition that we have built. We could not have done it without them."
Yale returns to the field Sunday to face Liberty at 2:00 p.m. on the Ivy League Network.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity