The women’s lacrosse team could hardly have asked for more from the class of 2008 on Senior Day yesterday.
The senior class led the way as the No. 14 Bulldogs (11-4, 4-2 Ivy) dominated Brown (5-7, 2-3) in their final home game of the season, winning 12-4.
Combining for a total of six goals, one assist, 10 ground balls and seven saves in the effort, the Eli veterans left Johnson Field on a high note as they prepare to hit the road this weekend for their final game of the regular season.
“This was a great win for our Senior Day sendoff and the six seniors’ performance was very indicative of their value to the team for the last four years,” head coach Laura Field said. “This class has been a phenomenal example of what it means to play lacrosse at Yale. They have been fierce and selfless competitors for four years and have never failed to give everything they have to the game and their teammates.”
Despite the lopsided final score, the game did not start out in the Elis’ favor — Brown jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game off goals from Alexa Caldwell and Kara Kelly.
The Bulldogs, however, were not about to let the Bears spoil Senior Day and a near-perfect string of victories at home. Just 25 seconds after Brown’s second tally, offensive powerhouse Lauren Taylor ’08 took the ball straight to goal and put the Elis on the scoreboard. The voice of the announcer celebrating a Yale goal would become a familiar sound to fans in the bleachers, as Taylor’s score sparked an eight-goal run for the home team.
As Jenn Warden ’09, Meredith Callahan ’08 and Jess Sturgill ’10 joined Taylor with goals of their own in the first half, the Bulldog defense buckled down on the Bears to keep them scoreless as the period wore on. Anchoring the Elis on their own side of the field were seniors Jess Champion ’08 and Katie Wiacek ’08, two of the squad’s top defenders. Champion finished the day with five ground balls and caused one turnover, while Wiacek picked up two of each.
With a 5-2 lead at the break, the Bulldogs extended their run well into the second half. Captain Kat Peetz ’08 struck first, tallying an unassisted goal about a minute into the period. Taylor Fragapane ’09 and Sturgill followed Peetz soon after, helping the Bulldogs secure a commanding 8-2 lead with 23 minutes left to play.
The Bears were finally able to break a nearly 30-minute-long dry spell with 21:47 left on the clock. Undeterred, the Bulldogs answered back with two goals of their own — a beautiful unassisted shot by Warden and a free position tally for Peetz. Brown picked up one last goal halfway through the period, but the Bulldogs were able to close out the game on a high note, with goals from defender Kaitlyn Flatley ’11 and Taylor to make it 12-4.
At the end of the day, the Bulldogs saw strong performances from across the roster, although the performances of the senior class were certainly the highlight. Ellen Cameron ’08 capped off a stellar career at Johnson Field with a seven-save day, making a few beautiful stops and giving up just four goals.
“The seniors are all great leaders on and off the field, and today’s win was for them,” Jenna Block ’10 said. “After putting their heart and soul into our program for four years, they definitely deserved to finish their careers at home with a nice victory.”
The Bulldogs are back in action for their last game of the regular season on Saturday, when they head to Ithaca to face Cornell. With the Ivy League title out of reach, the Bulldogs will be looking to get a win in order to help them as they vie for a berth to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
“We have probably our biggest test of the season away at Cornell,” Field said. “Cornell is a very talented team and poses a hurdle for our team as we try for the post-season. For the possibility of the post season, we know what we need to do, and I know that we can match all of Cornell’s talent with terrific players of our own.”