W. lax welcomes in spring with Ws

More than halfway through the season, the women’s lacrosse team can look back at mixed results — a spring break respite in Florida and a winning season were tempered by dreary New England weather and the team’s lowest goal output in six years.

The end of spring break brought a three-game homestand for Yale (5-2, 1-1 Ivy). The Bulldogs started the string of contests at Johnson Field last Wednesday when they successfully avenged last year’s loss to Boston University, emphatically defeating them 13-5 this time around. On Saturday, the Elis donned their home jerseys yet again in a 10-8 victory over Ivy foe No. 8 Dartmouth (3-2, 0-1 Ivy). The Big Green had put up a tough battle in 2006, with the Bulldogs scraping past 6-5, and the Elis anticipated a difficult rematch.

“We knew going into Saturday that we could beat Dartmouth because player for player we matched up very well,” midfielder Lauren Taylor ’08 said. “Their attack is very talented, led primarily by upperclassmen. Their defense, on the other hand, was young and relatively inexperienced, and I think we were faster through the midfield. We knew they were going to come out of with a vengeance, seeing as we had unexpectedly upset them last year in Hanover.”

Defender Jenn Warden ’09 said that the hard-fought game came down to hustle and desire.

“It was a really intense game which could have gone either way, but we definitely out-hustled [Dartmouth] in the end and played with a lot of heart to earn a fantastic win,” Warden said. “It was a really important Ivy victory, coming off a loss to Penn.”

The Elis will defend their home field once again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, when they face UMass. Unlike the previous two teams, UMass is an unknown opponent, as the Bulldogs have not faced the Minutemen in three years.

After UMass, Yale will resume Ivy competition full throttle, with five of their next six opponents being Ancient Eight teams. Moreover, three of their first four conference foes are ranked nationally.

The Elis started off their Ivy campaign on the wrong foot with a tough 9-3 loss to No. 16 Penn, in a game that was played a day later than scheduled due to a snowstorm. The result gave Penn the top position in the Ivy standings and put Yale in seventh place. But the win against the Big Green evened out their Ivy record, 1-1.

“The timing of the Penn game was unfortunate,” Warden said. “Because it came right after we were stuck in Florida due to the snow, and I think all the traveling had a negative affect on our play.”

The Bulldogs will travel to Cambridge on Saturday, aiming to overcome longtime rival Harvard. The game will be the Crimson’s first against an Ivy League team this season and their first at Harvard Stadium. Yale hopes to turn around last year’s 11-8 loss to Harvard. Several players said they were optimistic about the team’s chances in the Ivies and said that an Ivy Championship was within reach.

“After [the two games against Dartmouth and BU], we have clearly seen how talented this team is.” Taylor Fragapane ’09 said. “Now we know we have no excuse not to win the rest of our games this season. I think we have a very good chance at winning Ivies this year.”

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