W. lax holds on to beat UMBC

“Crabcakes and lacrosse — that’s what Maryland does.” But not according to the Yale women’s lacrosse team.

The Bulldogs (10-4, 3-2 Ivy) earned a hard-fought 12-9 win at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (4-11) yesterday afternoon, never falling behind in a game whose score was tied on five separate occasions. The bout with the Retrievers brought an end to the Elis’ non-conference schedule as they prepare to close out their Ivy season this week and make their case for their second-straight at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“A win is a win, and if we win out for the rest of the season it makes a really strong case,” midfielder Lauren Taylor ’08 said. “My goal at this point is just to make sure we finish the season on a high note.”

The Bulldogs charged out of the gate Sunday afternoon, scoring four of the game’s first five goals to take a 4-1 lead halfway through the first period. Attacker Jess Sturgill ’10 drew the first blood for the second game in a row, racing in for an unassisted goal just 1:13 after the opening whistle to put the Elis on the board.

Although the Retrievers fired back with a free position tally shortly after, the Bulldogs put up a three-goal run thanks to the efforts of Taylor, Jenn Warden ’09 and captain Kat Peetz ’08.

But UMBC had a response, converting three-straight goals of their own to knot the score at 4-4. If not for Taylor’s goal with six seconds left in the opening period, the Retrievers could have boasted holding the visitors scoreless for over 17 minutes leading up to halftime.

And the back-and-forth battle did not end with the final whistle of the first half. After the break, UMBC struck first, erasing Yale’s 5-4 edge just over a minute into the period. For the nearly 20 minutes that followed, the Bulldogs inched forward, trying to shake the Retrievers off their heels and hold on to a lead. But UMBC had answers for goals by Peetz, Warden and defender Kaitlyn Flatley ’11, tying the score at 9-9 with 10 minutes remaining.

Finally, however, the Elis were able to break away, closing out the game with three unanswered goals to win it, 12-9. Thirty-six seconds after the Retrievers netted the 9-9 equalizer, Taylor carried the ball to UMBC territory and buried it in the back of the net to give the Elis their sixth lead of the day. Then Taylor Fragapane ’09 stepped in, scoring her first goal with 8:25 left on the clock and putting the finishing touches on the game with 14 seconds remaining.

“I think we’ve definitely been able to get into a rhythm, [which is] something we struggled with in the beginning of the year,” Fragapane said. “We start to figure out each other’s strengths and come together and make it happen as a team instead of twelve individuals.”

Although it was one of their longest road trips of the season, the Bulldogs did not feel like visitors in Maryland: Seven members on the roster hail from the state, one of the foremost regions for lacrosse in the country. Friends and family flooded the stands with Eli blue, cheering the Bulldogs to victory.

“We actually had more fans than the other team,” Taylor said. “That’s always a good feeling, when we can be a visiting team and have a good showing in the stands.”

The Bulldogs return to action Wednesday afternoon, when they host Brown on Senior Day at Johnson Field.

-Karan Arakotaram contributed reporting to this story.

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