The women’s lacrosse team had its best offensive day in two seasons as it recorded a 17–13 win against the Crimson on Alumnae Day Saturday at Reese Stadium.
Attacker Devon Rhodes ’13 led Yale with eight goals — the most scored in a game by a Yale player in 10 years — helping the Bulldogs (5–6, 2–2 Ivy) jump out to a commanding 11–2 lead at half.
“Everyone knew coming into this game that it was a high stakes game,” Rhodes said. “Beside for the obvious, it being the Harvard-Yale rivalry, it was even more crucial that we won this game in order to make it into the Ivy League tournament at the end of the season.”
Yale is now tied with Cornell for fourth place in the Ivy League, the final spot that qualifies a team for this season’s inaugural Ivy League tournament.
Attacker Jenna Block ’10 started off the scoring about three minutes in Saturday with a goal off a free position shot.
Just 90 seconds later Crimson attacker Melanie Baskind answered with a quick goal to tie it 1–1 but that would be the
last boost for some time for Harvard as the Elis produced a three-goal run starting with midfielder Kaitlyn Flatley’s ’11 free position goal. The Bulldogs got two more tallies as Block fed Rhodes and then attacker Jess Sturgill ’10 to make it 4–1 just eight minutes into the half.
“Our attack played really well yesterday,” defender and captain Claire Eliasberg ’10 said. “They’ve been working hard this year, and over the past few weeks, we’ve seen results.”
Block attributed the team’s offensive outburst to working on movement off the ball and to players learning each others tendencies.
The Eli’s surge caused the Crimson to make a goalie change early in the game, substituting Kerry Clark for goalie Katherine Martino, who had yet to make a save.
The goalie switch seemed to work for the Crimson as a Harvard attacker scored at minute 17:15 to make it a two-goal game. But attacker Caroline Crow ’12 responded with a goal off an assist from attacker Myra Trivellas ’11 thirty seconds later. Crow’s goal, which made it 5–2, would be the beginning of a nine-goal run for the Bulldogs that lasted into the second half, during which the Elis converted all nine of their clear attempts and did not commit a turnover.
“The defenders are doing a great job being patient on the clears and taking care of the ball,” Block said. “Our transition from defense has gotten much better over the course of the last few games.”
Rhodes had four of the nine goals and Crow had two. Sturgill and midfielder Logan Greer ’11 both had one each during the run. The Bulldog defense was also on a roll while their offense was on a scoring spree as they held Crimson attacker Jen Vander Meulen, who entered the game with 29 goals, to just one tally in the first 40 minutes of play. Rhodes recorded the last tally of the nine-goal run about five minutes into the second half to make it 13–2.
“We’ve been talking about cutting down on our turnovers all season, and I think a highlight of the Harvard game was that we didn’t have any turnovers in the first half,” Eliasberg said.
But the second half was much more positive for the Crimson as midfielder Danielle Tetreault scored at 22:40 to start a four-goal run that cut the lead to 13–6 in less than six minutes. The next five minutes of play were back-and-forth for the rivals — Rhodes scored three times to match three Crimson goals. But the Crimson weren’t done yet. They continued to pressure the Bulldogs and were able to go on another four-goal run to bring them within three, making it just 16–13 with two minutes remaining.
“As soon as we started struggling with draw controls Harvard was able to get back in the game,” Block said. “I wish we had not let things get that close, but when we got that final draw control with three minutes left I knew we had the win.”
The late comeback from Harvard was not enough as the Elis were able to gain and keep possession of the ball to run out the clock. The Bulldogs were able to solidify the 17–13 win with a free position goal from Flatley with two seconds remaining.
“I think the team as a whole has finally gotten comfortable working together and we are starting to play as one cohesive unit,” Rhodes said. “Our defense was aggressive and consistent, our midfield transition was fluent and our attack was patient and capitalized on almost every scoring opportunity we had. It was great to see it all come together.”
The Bulldogs hit the road on Saturday as they head to Princeton, N.J., to face the Tigers in a showdown that begins at 1 p.m.