In its last conference game of the season, the women’s lacrosse team fell to Brown on the road. Led by senior Jesse Nunn, who scored three of the Bears’ seven goals, Brown topped the Bulldogs, 7-5.
Coming into the match, it seemed as though Yale (5-10, 1-6 Ivy) was the slight underdog in the match. Brown (7-8, 3-4) was fresh off a closely fought 7-6 loss to Princeton, a team that defeated the Bulldogs, 15-6, earlier in the season. On top of that, the Bears were celebrating senior night, in which seven seniors were playing their last game. Finally, the Bulldogs were coming off an 11-day rest, the longest of their season.
Even in the face of an uphill battle, the Elis were confident in their chance for an upset. The Bulldogs had won 15 straight games against the Bears, dating back to 1994. On top of that, the Elis easily beat the Bears, 12-4, in last year’s matchup.
“We weren’t at all intimidated,” captain and midfielder Taylor Fragapane ’09 said. “The rest was the exact thing that we needed to recover from injuries.”
But the Elis were still a little sluggish in the opening minutes of the game, and Brown jumped out to the early lead when Nunn scored on a free position shot at 27:43. Down early, Bulldog midfielder Jenn Warden ’09 evened the score minutes later, indicating that the game would be close. Yet Brown went on a four-goal run to lead 5-1 midway through the first half.
“Brown was holding the ball on offense for a majority of the first half,” Fragapane said. “And we gave up a few penalties that hurt us.”
With just over 10 minutes left in the half, midfielder Logan Greer ’11 chipped away at the Bears’ lead when she scored on a free position shot. The half would remain scoreless after that, and the Bulldogs entered halftime down 5-2.
But they were not deterred from the task of making up ground in the second half. The Elis have entered the majority of their halftimes this season trailing their opponents. And as in so many of those games, the Elis mounted a comeback in the second half simply by taking better shots on goal.
“We didn’t make many adjustments before the second half,” Fragapane said. “We were taking shots in the first half, but we weren’t getting good looks at the net. So all we needed to do was finish.”
The Elis did just that. Warden scored three consecutive goals to tie the game at five goals apiece.
“This team definitely has a comeback mentality,” Warden said.
But the Bulldogs’ success in the second half also attests to their solid defense. The Elis normally play a man-to-man defense, but Brown was very good on their one-on-ones, goalie Whitney Quackenbush ’12 said. So the Elis made a point to double-team players who had the ball in order to limit the Bears’ opportunities to drive toward the goal. Moreover, Brown came out a little flat in the second half, Quackenbush said.
“In this game, like our game against Cornell last Saturday, we had moments of greatness and moments where we had some turnovers,” Quackenbush said.
Turnovers crippled the Elis at the end of the game, squelching any chance of the Bulldogs taking the lead in the final minutes. Brown’s Molly McCarthy scored what would be the game-winning goal at 7:51. And the Bulldogs gave up a late goal in the last minute.
The Elis will play their last game of the season on Saturday when they travel to No. 8 Georgetown (12-5).
“We know that Georgetown is typically a really good team,” Fragapane said. “Even if we’re down we will fight our way back and not give up.”