If you’re going to snap a long losing streak to win your first game of the season, you might as well do it in dramatic fashion.
Devon Rhodes ’13 scored four goals and the women’s lacrosse team (1–4, 0–1 Ivy) used a dominant second half to come from behind and beat Marist (2–3) by an 11–8 margin Saturday afternoon. The Elis overcame early goalie struggles and a deficit that grew to four goals in the first half to earn their first win of the season.
“With an 0–4 record, we were just in a bad place mentally,” Rhodes said. “This is absolutely enormous for us.”
Yale took the field against Marist after three consecutive losses against lacrosse powerhouses. Current No. 14 Boston College and No. 9 Dartmouth beat the Elis last week, and Yale lost again at No. 8 James Madison during a road trip to Virginia Wednesday.
Head coach Anne Phillips said the losing streak was dispiriting, but that the tough competition was necessary for a squad on which 17 of 26 players are freshman or sophomores.
“There are growing pains, but we’re challenging ourselves,” she said. “That trial by fire is necessary with the young team we have this season.”
The Elis did not look inexperienced at the outset, as Kelsea Smith ’13, Caroline Crow ’12, and Rhodes each scored to put their team up, 3–1. But then Marist’s offense came to life.
The Foxes reeled off six unanswered goals, including four from Jori Procaccini, and owned a 7–3 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first half. The home crowd had gone silent and no amount of Yale strategizing seemed capable of stopping the barrage.
Phillips pulled starting goaltender Whitney Quackenbush ’12 — who had allowed five goals on five Marist shots — in favor of Erin McMullan ’14 after the Foxes’ fourth consecutive goal, but McMullan could not stop a shot either. She allowed two more goals in 13 minutes of play before Rhodes went into high gear.
“[Rhodes] hasn’t been slumping, but she hasn’t quite been putting up the numbers she did last year, so this game was huge for her,” Crow said.
The midfielder’s game was huge for her team as well. Phillips switched her to faceoff duty midway through the first half, and the strategy worked. Rhodes led the Elis with four draw controls, which proved crucial to Yale’s dramatic comeback.
“It was a game of possession,” Crow said. “They were getting the faceoffs early, but we started getting to the fifty-fifty balls in the second [half] and that’s when we turned the game around.”
Rhodes also turned her faceoff success into tallies on the scoreboard. She ended the Marist run with a goal three minutes before halftime, and then scored again 37 seconds before the horn. That tally narrowed the visitors’ lead to 7–5 as the two teams headed to the locker room.
Rhodes did not miss a beat when play resumed. She completed her natural hat trick just 11 seconds into the second half when she won the opening draw, raced downfield, and beat Marist goalie Ashley Casiano with a devastating shot.
“That goal set the tone for the second half,” Phillips said.
Crow scored her second of three goals ten minutes later as the Eli offensive onslaught continued. The Bulldogs outscored the Foxes 6–1 in the half, with goals from five different players.
Attacker Jenn DeVito ’14 scored what became the game-winner when her goal with 6:51 left in the game made the score 9–8. The Bulldogs never looked back. They had fewer turnovers than their opponents for the first time all season, and left the field after the win apprehensive but energized for their next game: an Ivy League contest against No. 3 Penn next Saturday.
With Penn looming ahead, Crow said the victory was a crucial move toward rebounding from a rough start to the season.
“This game showed the freshmen we can win,” she said. “Now we have to build on it.”