With a 12-4 victory of Brown, the women’s lacrosse team extended its win streak to four games and earned its 10th consecutive home victory.
The No. 14 Bulldogs (11-4, 4-2 Ivy) put a slow start behind them at Johnson Field yesterday, quickly taking control of the game and defeating the Bears (6-5, 2-3). The Elis have not lost in New Haven since their season opener on February 29 and will leave the friendly confines of the Elm City for Ithaca, New York, Saturday to face Cornell (3-8, 2-3) in Yale’s regular season finale.
“We got off to a slow start [yesterday], I’m not sure why,” midfielder Sarah Driscoll ’05 who finished with two goals and two assists on the day, said. “Our defense did a great job holding them off in the beginning.”
Though midfielder Miles Whitman ’04, Yale’s second all-time leading goal scorer, netted the game’s first tally at 23:06, Brown midfielder Laura Pierpont answered back with two tallies of her own to give the Bears a 2-1 lead roughly 13 minutes into the game.
But Pierpont’s second goal at 17:06 was the high point of the day for the Bears.
The Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to take firm control of the game, and Brown could do little to stop them.
“This team plays with a lot pride,” Yale head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Women’s lacrosse has traditionally been a strong program. We’re a program that has done well over the years, and they want to continue that tradition.”
Midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 got things going, rippling the twine twice to regain the lead for Yale. Fellow midfielder Sarah Driscoll ’05 followed Sargent’s lead with a goal of her own on a free position shot at 2:41.
The rest of the half, however, belonged to midfielder Sophie Melniker ’04. Melniker, the league’s offensive player of the week after 16 goals and two assists in two games last weekend, beat Bear goalie Jessica McNell three consecutive times in less than two minutes to give Yale a commanding 7-2 lead entering the half.
“We just wanted to move it around fast,” Driscoll said. “It was a matter of not being stationary.”
The Elis picked up in the second frame right where they left off in the first, with Driscoll burying a Melniker pass less than 120 seconds into the half. Midfielder Aly Croffy ’05 capped the eight-goal run with her 11th of the year.
On the defensive end, goalie Lonnie Sarnell’s strong play from last weekend carried over into yesterday’s game. The Eli netminder made eight saves on 21 shots.
“I just keep gaining confidence, and that’s really been helping,” Sarnell said.
Captain Jen Kessel led the defensive corps with two caused turnovers, just above her 1.93 season average, which is second in the Ancient Eight.
The Bears finally broke through Yale’s smothering defense when Pierpont gave Brown its first goal in almost 27 minutes of play with her third of the game at 20:40. But Whitman responded with two goals to record her own hat trick, while Sargent picked up three goals on the day, scoring the game’s final tally at 6:52.
The win marked the end of a four-game homestand for Yale, during which the Elis went 4-0, outscoring their opponents 54-23.
“Always home-field advantage is a big deal,” Driscoll said. “You’re used to your turf and the fans and everything. Possibly not having travel helps you have a better.”
The Bulldogs have rebounded from a 13-4 loss to No. 1 Princeton (13-0, 5-0) on April 10 to play their best lacrosse of the season.
“We just decided after Princeton that we had to win the rest of our games,” Sarnell said.
The Elis are one victory away from achieving that goal, with a matchup against the Big Red looming this weekend. Cornell is coming off of back-to-back wins for the first time this season after defeating Brown and Columbia (6-6, 0-5).
“We just need to go out there aggressively and play a full 60 minutes of lacrosse,” Sarnell said.
The rampaging Elis will try to improve on their 1-3 road record and solidify their case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs sit in third place in the conference and will finish behind the Tigers and No. 12 Dartmouth (8-2, 5-0).
After Wednesday, the Bulldogs’ season’s fate will be out of their hands and belong to the tournament selection committee.
“We all want to go to the tournament; we’re just going to do everything we can in terms of winning on Saturday,” Driscoll said.