W. lacrosse pounces on Stags in 2007 opener

With a clean slate, the women’s lacrosse team kicked off their 2007 campaign just a few exits down I-95 from Johnson Field, and their quest for a 14th consecutive winning season started off on the right foot with an afternoon full of explosive play at Fairfield.

Yale (1-0) kicked off the season on a winning note Monday, trashing the Stags (0-2), 14-7. In their previous encounter last March, the Elis had gotten the better of Fairfield, prevailing 19-11 in a high scoring matchup at home, and yesterday’s win added to a now perfect 8-0 record against their in-state foes.

Despite their history of dominance over the Stags, the Bulldogs did not take their first opponents of the 2007 season lightly.

“We don’t want to go into any game assuming we’re going to win,” captain Lindsey Levin ’07 said. “But we were pretty confident and our goal was to go out there and play well. I think the game went well even though we didn’t win by as big a margin as last year.”

The Elis stormed to a 7-0 lead with 12:52 remaining in the first half, with midfielder Lauren Taylor ’08 scoring three of Yale’s first seven goals. Taylor, who finished the game with a career-high nine points, attributed the victory to the team’s pre-season effort.

“The team was really playing positive because we had worked harder than we ever had in the off-season collectively,” she said. “And we were just excited to go out and play.”

Fairfield had already begun their season with a 8-7 loss to Villanova on Saturday, but yesterday’s non-conference game was their first at Alumni Field.

Team members said they were looking to work on some aspects of their play, including attack, defense and midfield transition. If the Bulldogs’ 44-20 edge in shooting was any indicator, the team came out firing and thoroughly outplayed its opponent.

“We’re satisfied in the sense that we won,” Taylor said. “But there are always things that you look back on and say could have [been] done differently. We were strong defensively and our midfield transition was particularly strong. We have some new faces in offense and it will come with time.”

The Elis do not bring their campaign to Johnson Field until March 10, but the team faces another Nutmeg State team, UConn, on Wednesday. Yale most recently faced the Huskies last March 1 and came out on top, 6-5, in the closely contested game. Players sounded hopeful about their chances against tomorrow’s opponent.

“It’s always a gutsy game,” Taylor said. “They are in-state rivals and have got some scrappy players that are aggressive but not necessarily skilled. As usual, they are going to give us a run for our money. It’ll be a close game and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”

Because UConn scouts were present at Alumni Field yesterday, team members said they did not use many new plays against Fairfield. With only 48 between the Fairfield game and tomorrow’s faceoff in Storrs, the Bulldogs will sharpen these new plays in practice today.

“I think we have to remember to keep the intensity level up,” attacker Lawrie Peck ’09 said. “Again, like any other team, when you’re winning you tend to not keep intensity up and the other team might get the better of you if you don’t.”

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