With the spring semester already having begun at Dartmouth but around the corner for the rest of the Ancient Eight, The Crimson takes a look at the fall semester for each athletic program and the season that was in each major sport. Last, and almost definitely least, the Yale Bulldogs.
After a tumultuous offseason, the Yale football team entered 2012 with a new coach and were picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs played their best against the class of the Ancient Eight, defeating the Quakers at home by two touchdowns (the only Ivy League team to defeat Penn in 2012) and putting themselves in a position to win The Game late in the fourth quarter before Crimson running back Treavor Scales scampered for a game-sealing touchdown run late. Running back Tyler Varga, who accounted for 117 yards per game and eight touchdowns on the ground—including a 220 yard, three touchdown effort in a 26-22 loss to Columbia—was named to the FCS All-America squad in December and was the team’s best player. However, while the Bulldogs played up to the level of their higher-quality opponents they also were susceptible to duds against the lower rungs of the Ancient Eight, losing by 39 points to Cornell and by 4 to Columbia, who combined for two wins against non-Yale Ivy League squads.
Capturing its third straight Ancient Eight title (second outright), the Yale women’s volleyball team went a perfect 14-0 in conference play, dropping only six sets against the 42 it won. Junior Kendall Polan was named the Ivy League Player of the Year after finishing fifth in the conference in assists per set and tenth in kills per set. She led the team in assists, ranking third in kills, and produced seven triple-doubles (in kills, assists, and digs) during the season. Polan was later named a Division I Honorable Mention All-American.
The Yale men’s golf team has proved to be the surprise of the season so far in the Ancient Eight. The sixth-place squad from last year is up to first, shooting ten shots better as a team (seven better versus par) and senior Brad Kushner and junior Sam Bernstein share the title of best golfer in the Ivy League—averaging an identical 72.43 round score (2.29 versus par). Colin Sheehan’s team has already captured a title on the year, winning the Macdonald Cup on September 30th.
Having improved twelve strokes as a team since last year, the Yale women’s golf team currently stands third in the Ivy League. Two years after capturing seven titles, the Bulldogs have played more tournaments—five—than any other team and are tied for the league lead in wins with one. Although the team has no golfer in the top five, it is a model of consistency with five golfers in the top 20 and seven in the top 30. Number one golfer junior Seo Hee Moon has improved on a sophomore season where she ranked sixth in the Ancient Eight and won one of the eight tournaments she entered, shooting nearly two whole shots better versus par then in 2011-2012.
For the 10th time in eleven years, the Yale women’s soccer team finished with a winning record, albeit barely. The Bulldogs finished 8-7-2 overall, 1-4-2 in the Ivy League, and outscored opponents 20-9 in nonconference games before struggling to score against conference competition. Yale netted only six goals in seven conference games, but finished the year with five goals in four games. The Bulldogs were undefeated (2-0-2) in their last four contests and defeated Brown, 1-0, on Senior Night.
A year after four wins netted the Yale men’s soccer team a fifth place finish in the Ivy League, the Bulldogs finished with only one win but scored a sixth place finish. The Bulldogs defeated only Penn in their last nine games, coming away with three other ties and six losses in which they did not score a goal. This was a common theme for the Bulldogs, who never lost a game that they scored in. In postseason recognition, Junior Nick Alers was named a first team academic All-American after receiving honorable mention All-Ivy recognition for his play.
A year after a last-game loss by the Princeton Tigers opened the door for the Yale field hockey team’s split conference championship, Yale stumbled to a 6-11 season and won only three of seven Ivy League contests. The team lost nine of thirteen after winning two of the first four and suffered shutout losses to BU, Virginia, Syracuse, Cornell, Princeton, Fairfield, and Connecticut. Goalkeeper Emily Cain ranked second in the conference in saves and sixth in save percentage but a distant seventh in goals against. No Bulldog ranked in the top ten in the conference in either assists of goals and its top point scorer, Erica Borgo, finished a distant twenty third in the Ancient Eight.