Yale field hockey is currently in second place in the Ivy League, but with undefeated Princeton in first the Bulldogs need every win to have a shot at the conference crown.
Sixth-place Penn (4-9, 1-2 Ivy) hopes to play spoiler when the Ivy foes face off Sunday at 1 p.m. on Franklin Field.
The Quakers are hopeful they can upset the Bulldogs (9-5, 3-1) despite the discrepancy in their respective win totals.
“I think we are pretty even,” Penn coach Val Cloud said. “We’ll see on Sunday if I’m going to eat my words.”
The Bulldogs will certainly come motivated. They are not only fighting for the regular season title but also seeking to snap a five-year losing streak to the Quakers.
“They will be anxious to get at us,” Cloud said. “They have been doing very well this year, so we are looking forward to playing them.”
The Bulldogs come into the game having won seven of their last ten games, and they’re gaining recognition nationally. They received seven votes this week in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll.
The squad is led by senior midfielder Katie Cantore and senior forward Ashley McCauley.
Cantore leads the League in assists with 1.09 per game and enters the weekend one shy of setting Yale’s single-season record.
Meanwhile, McCauley is coming off the most impressive weekend of her career in which she tallied seven points (a pair of goals and an assist) earning her Ivy Player of the Week honors. The Quakers are prepared to face her.
“[McCauley] has speed, she is aggressive, has good footwork and ball skills and she’s got a good shot on goal,” Cloud said. “We are going to be very aware of her and try our best to not give her much room.”
On the other hand, the generally low-scoring Penn squad enters the contest two games removed from a five-goal effort against St. Francis (Pa.).
Freshman midfielder Sarah Hasson and junior attacker Laurel McGarvie did all the scoring in that explosion, including a hat trick from McGarvie.
While the team hopes to continue its recent offensive success, a victory hinges most heavily on their slowing down the Bulldogs’ offense.
“Our defense has to lead the way to keep the ball up front for us,” Cloud said. “Whoever capitalizing on the opportunities they have is going to come out the winners.”
If that team proves to be the Quakers and their winning streak stays alive, Yale’s chances at the crown will be all but spoiled.
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