Nothing spells spring like sitting under the sun, relaxing and watching a doubleheader — of women’s lacrosse.
In the rarest of occasions, No. 14 Yale (8-4, 3-2 Ivy) will play a double header at Johnson Field Saturday, first hosting University of California-Berkeley at noon followed by a match up against Monmouth at six.
With 120 minutes of lacrosse billed for the day, the Elis’ bench will need to be a difference maker. But if the Bulldogs’ 18-3 shellacking of Ivy foe Columbia (6-6, 0-5) at home Wednesday is any indicator, Yale does not have much to worry about.
“The biggest thing was the entire team got into the game,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “There was no letdown between the starters and the non-starters. That said a lot about the people coming off of the bench.”
The Elis had goals from 10 different players against the Lions, including five from midfielder Sophie Melniker ’04. All five of her tallies came in the first half and she added two assists to cap off a tremendous offensive performance.
Midfielder Aly Croffy ’04 opened the scoring 2:06 into the game on her ninth goal of the year, the first of 12 unanswered Elis scores to start the game. The offensive explosion was a nice change for Yale, which was coming off a 13-4 loss to No. 1 Princeton (4-0, 12-0) April 10.
“It was really important for us to get out there and be really strong,” Croffy said. “It was going to be a make or break situation.”
Columbia’s Katie Warner finally got the Lions on the board with 31 seconds left in the first half, but Yale midfielder Miles Whitman ’04 put the stamp on a dominant half with her second goal of the game, reestablishing a 12 goal lead.
The goal, Whitman’s Ancient Eight-leading 39th of the season and the 163rd of her career, pulled her within one tally of Yale’s second all-time leading goal scorer, Heather Bentley ’00.
“We expected great things from [Whitman when she came to Yale] and she [has] delivered,” O’Leary said.
In the second half, Yale’s bench players picked up right where the starters left off.
Lion midfielder Adie Moll scored the half’s first goal roughly nine minutes into the frame, but Yale quickly informed Columbia that the first half’s trends would continue.
“We had some great efforts by [Tiffany] Venuto [’06, backup goalie] Casey Littlefield [’07 and] Sarah Scalia [’06],” O’Leary said. “As a group they all played really well. They had a lot of momentum going. It was a great game to watch.”
Venuto found the net twice while attacker Marya Myers ’07 and midfielders Scalia and Jennifer Voorhees ’04 joined in with a goal apiece, establishing a 16-goal lead with 9:12 left to play.
“It says a lot about our team if we can maintain that kind of lead with everyone in the game,” said attacker Katie Brownson ’05, who had one goal in the game. “Our younger players are doing their best and it shows how good they are.”
The Bulldogs will need that kind of effort from its subs tomorrow, as it looks to improve its record at Johnson field to 9-1. The Elis have won seven in a row in New Haven and are undefeated on the turf since their season opening loss to No. 8 James Madison University February 29.
Because a doubleheader is such an unusual occurrence in lacrosse, the Yale coaching staff is meticulously preparing for both the Golden Bears and the Hawks.
“Since we’ve never played in a doubleheader, we’re certainly preparing for both teams and taking them both individually,” O’Leary said.
Cal is looking to rebound after dropping its last two games, while Monmouth is on a three-game losing skid of its own. Despite having two struggling opponents on tap, Yale will not enter either game timidly.
“You have to take it as one game at a time,” Brownson said. “We have so much depth that we have confidence in every player.”
In addition to the games this weekend, Yale will be honoring its four seniors — captain Jen Kessel ’04, Whitman, Melniker and Voorhees prior to the Monmouth game.
“They are a really special group of seniors,” O’Leary said. “It’s a group that will be missed.”