If the women’s lacrosse team makes it to the NCAA Tournament, it will be by detour rather than the direct route.
For the second time in as many weeks, a furious Bulldog comeback in the final minutes was not enough to propel the team to victory, as No. 12 Yale fell to Hofstra, 9-8, in Hempstead, N.Y. Sunday afternoon. Also for the second time, the Elis squandered a chance to clinch a bid in the NCAA tournament, but the team is still holding out hope.
“Right now, we are on the bubble,” Jen Kessel ’04 said. “We will either be the last team in or the first team out.”
The 16-team NCAA tournament field will be announced Sunday, May 5. Seven conference champions receive automatic bids, leaving nine at-large berths. If Yale (11-5) makes the tournament, it will probably be the eighth or ninth at-large selection.
Of the teams that are either in already or competing with Yale for those final slots, the Elis have beaten Duke and Dartmouth, while losing to Princeton, Cornell, Notre Dame and James Madison.
“I feel like in the games that we lost that might have helped us out, we lost against good teams,” Sarah Queener ’03 said referring to opponents like Cornell and Notre Dame. “Against Hofstra, we should have gone out there and beat them from the beginning.”
The Elis could have been in solid shape for an at-large berth with a win in their regular season finale against the Pride (12-11). However, like their overtime loss to Cornell a week prior — another game that could have put Yale in the tourney — the Bulldogs had to fight from behind in the final minutes and came up just one goal short.
Trailing 12-7 with just under 14 minutes left to play, the Elis needed five goals in the remainder regulation to force overtime. They only got four.
Miles Whitman ’04 began the Eli comeback with a score at the 13:25 mark. Clarissa Clarke ’03 netted her fourth goal of the game to make the score 12-9 with 8:44 to play. Just over a minute later, a Queener goal brought Yale within two scores, 12-10.
The Pride defense held up down the stretch, allowing only one more goal — Clarke’s fifth tally, coming with 44 seconds left. Yale had possession in the final seconds, but could not get the tying score.
Clarke had two assists to go with her game-high five goals. Katherine Sargent ’05 and Whitman each tallied two goals, while Queener had a pair of scores and a pair of assists. Amanda Laws ’03 had six saves in goal for the Bulldogs.
“We knew going into the game that by winning we would get into the NCAAs. For some reason, we didn’t come out hard enough,” Queener said. “It is really a down note to end the season [like this].”
Notes: Starting today, the team is holding practice in order to stay sharp should an NCAA tournament game be in the cards. The team did not practice earlier in the week– Clarke’s five-goal performance was only a week removed from a concussion she suffered Apr. 20 at Cornell.