A split weekend in California displayed the best and worst of the No. 19 women’s lacrosse team.
A 14-4 rout over California in Berkeley, Calif. on Sunday came on the heels of a disappointing 9-8 loss to Stanford on Friday. The victory showed off the Elis’ (7-6, 2-3 Ivy) dynamic attack and their ability to maintain a high level of play against a weaker opponent, but the one-goal loss to Stanford exposed the Elis’ tendency to drop close games — Yale has lost all four of its games that have been decided by one goal.
The contest against Berkeley illustrated the Elis’ capacity to regroup after a loss and come out strong for their next game. This strength has seen the Elis rebound after rough losses to now-No. 4 Princeton and No. 7 Dartmouth, and has helped the team maintain a winning record and a national ranking throughout most of the season.
“The game against Berkeley shows how much heart our team has,” captain Kerry Docherty ’05 said. “We took all of our frustrations after Stanford and turned them into positive things. I think some people thought we probably would not bounce back after Stanford, but we proved them wrong and proved to ourselves how strong our team can be.”
Midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 was a crucial contributor to Yale’s success against Cal. Sargent had a season-high six goals, four of which she notched during the second half to shut down any comeback hopes the Golden Bears may have had.
Sargent lit up the scoreboard less than 30 seconds into Sunday’s game but Cal’s Laura Cavallo responded with the Bears’ first goal just seconds later.
Attacker Lauren Taylor ’08 and midfielder Sarah Driscoll ’05 added a goal apiece in the first five minutes to put the Elis up 3-1 and give Cal a taste of the Eli dominance to come later in the game. The Bears made the foolish mistake of trying to play a zone defense against a potent Yale attack, leaving holes that allowed open shots for Sargent and Taylor.
“On attack we were able to exploit Cal’s defense because they were playing zone instead of man-to-man, so when we moved the ball quickly they weren’t able to cover the open player,” Sargent said.
Yale’s attack was not its only strength of the day. The defense, led by goaltender Lonnie Sarnell ’06 and defender Lisa Reindl ’05, held the Bears to 20 shots for the entire game, including just eight in the first half. Sarnell, who played all 60 minutes, had 12 saves for the Bulldogs.
“The game against Berkeley was a huge team effort and everyone, all over the field, came up big,” Sargent said. “From the defensive holds, to Lonnie’s saves, to the midfield transition, to the ball movement on attack, we really dominated all over the field. Lisa Reindl had some huge caused turnovers and groundballs in the defensive end.”
Against Stanford, however, the Bulldogs fell disappointingly short.
The Cardinal jumped out to a 5-1 advantage with 8:30 left to play in the first half. But in the closing minutes of the half, Taylor and midfielder Lara Melniker ’07 found the back of the net to cut the Stanford lead to two.
The Bulldogs continued to cut into the Stanford lead after the break as Driscoll and midfielder Aly Croffy ’05 tallied their first goals of the weekend to tie the game at 5-5.
Stanford’s Kelsey Twist stopped the Eli run to put the Cardinal up 6-5 with 21:50 left in the game.
The Bulldogs answered with a three-goal scoring streak, during which Taylor hit two shots and Croffy added another, to put the Elis up by two. But Yale could not hold off the Cardinal, who scored the last three goals of the game, including one with under a minute remaining to snag the victory.
Rookie goalie Ellen Cameron ’08 collected eight saves while Stanford’s Laura Shane made nine.
“Stanford was a really tough loss,” Docherty said. “We were up by two in the last 10 minutes, but just let the win slip through our fingertips. It’s frustrating to know that after [four] games of losing by one goal, we still have not managed to figure out a tactic which will lead us to win in these situations.”
The disappointing defeat at the hands of the Cardinal was somewhat mollified by the victory over the Bears, and the dominant win bodes well for the squad’s showdown with Brown tomorrow in Providence.
“I think this weekend, especially in the Cal game, everything just really came together for us,” Taylor said. “We just took control of the game early on and we never let go. I think that puts us in a great position for Brown. It’s a real important game, obviously, since it’s Ivy, and we’re in a good position to win, coming off the Cal game.”