Fate stole the Bulldogs’ hopes for an Ivy title, but they nevertheless offered a demonstration of their prowess with a solid win over Cornell on Saturday.
Despite coming in second place in the Ancient Eight, the Bulldogs ended their season at home with the same consistent play they have exhibited in their last eight games. No. 12 Yale (13-3, 6-1 Ivy) beat Cornell (3-9, 2-4), 13-8, in its final regular-season contest, maintaining its undefeated home season.
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Going into the encounter against the Big Red, the Elis knew they were no longer in contention for the Ancient Eight title and the ensuing automatic NCAA bid. Penn earned the crown after beating defending champion Princeton last Wednesday to continue its undefeated conference season.
The victory against Cornell guaranteed the Elis a second-place finish in the Ivies and kept alive their hopes of an at-large NCAA berth. Several players said they were upset after Penn won the title, but went into the game against Cornell aiming to win.
“After Penn beat Princeton, we were a little demoralized,” midfielder Lauren Taylor ’08 said. “I’m glad we took care of business against Cornell and came away with a pretty decisive victory.”
Cornell got off to a good start, scoring the first two goals to jump to an early lead. But Yale quickly caught up and ended the first half ahead, 7-4. After halftime, the Elis never gave the Big Red a chance to take the lead.
“I really don’t think the score reflected the game,” midfielder Taylor Fragapane ’09 said. “We definitely outplayed them; it was 13-6 with a few minutes to go. But the point was that we won. We got the job done, and that’s all that counts.”
Fragapane said both teams had a lot of turnovers and that it was a sloppy match. Despite the close margin, the win extended the Bulldogs’ winning streak to nine games.
“It wasn’t our best game, but it was a nice culmination to our season,” midfielder Lisa McKenna ’07 said. “We played very hard, and it was a team effort. We were a little upset that Penn won, but we secured the No. 2 spot, and our chances are good for an NCAA spot.”
The Elis will know if they have secured a regional berth on May 7, when the NCAA selection show takes place.
The encounter with Cornell marked the end of the regular season for the Bulldogs. Goalkeeper Ellen Cameron ’08 ended her spectacular run with 15 saves Saturday. Fragapane and Taylor were the highest scorers of the game, with four goals each. Taylor, the Bulldogs’ and the country’s highest scorer this season with 57 goals, was nominated for lacrosse’s premier college award, the Tewaaraton Trophy. Taylor has had a stellar season with career-high 70 points (57-13), seven game-winning goals, 39 draw controls, 28 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers.
“I’m obviously very happy with the recognition I’ve had in the season,” Taylor said. “But I’m really looking forward to playing in the post-season. It doesn’t matter how many goals you score or who’s watching. It’s all about the team and coming away with the victory.”
Several players said the season was a roller coaster ride, with a huge difference in the level of play between the beginning of the season and the games after Penn in mid-season.
“Any game is anyone’s on any given day,” Taylor said. “We proved that ourselves. Once we got over the Penn hurdle and decided that this was our season, we came out big. It was pretty remarkable to see the difference in our play [brought about] by our confidence.”