Field hockey pushes past Yale 1-0 in rainy conditions
With rain pounding down on her royal blue uniform, freshman forward Rafaela Rubas found herself in front of the Yale net this afternoon at the exact time her team needed her.
Rubas, who hails from Vienna, Austria, slid an unassisted shot past Yale junior goalkeeper Emilie Katz in the 56th minute of the game to put her team on the scoreboard and elevate the Eagles to a 1-0 victory at Jacobs Field.
“It was just a lucky goal really, but it’s great,” Rubas said. “It was a really important goal to get since we really wanted to win this, and we had possession the whole time, so I’m just glad that we got the win.”
The Eagles (4-1, 0-0 PL) controlled the pace of play for nearly the entire match and outshot the Bulldogs 16-6, despite the rain. Yale (1-2, 0-0 IVY) prevented AU from converting on all seven of its shot attempts in the first half, but the Eagles ultimately came back in the second half to push past the Bulldogs’ back line with help from Rubas, junior forward Natalie Konerth and sophomore forward Leah DiGiandomenico. The trio leads the team so far this season in points, and head coach Steve Jennings praises Rubas, Konerth and DiGiandomenico for their chemistry on the field.
“Rafaela scored a great goal today, and she’s been a real force defensively and setting people up, so it’s been a fun thing for us to watch her play with the line of Pip [Konerth] and Leah, so that’s been a good thing,” Jennings said.
Konerth recorded three shots on goal, and DiGiandomenico registered one of her own as well.
The Eagles continued to fire at the Yale defense all throughout the game and doubled their shot total in the second half, even as the weather conditions worsened. With six minutes remaining, lighting interrupted AU’s offensive attacks, and the teams sought shelter in the Watkins building adjacent to Jacobs Field.
Anchored by sophomore Angela Virtu and senior midfielder Isabel Terwindt, the AU defense stopped Yale’s offensive efforts to convert on a tying goal, even after the weather delay.
Virtu, who earned distinction as a member of the 2015 Preseason All-Patriot League Field Hockey Team, also added three shots on goal for the Eagles, displaying her versatility on both sides of the field.
AU senior goalkeeper Kate McBeath, another member of the Preseason All-Patriot League team, recorded two critical saves in net to preserve the shutout and secure the win.
The Eagles continue their early season non-conference schedule with a game against No. 8 University of Maryland tomorrow at 3 p.m. in College Park, and Jennings said the game will be another chance to gauge his team’s progress this season.
“I think today we had to just kind of adapt and play to the conditions, and so we’ve worked hard all week to improve from last weekend, and we’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Jennings said.