The young women’s lacrosse team has proved it can play with the best. Now it has to learn to play a full 60 minutes.
The Elis (1–5, 0–2) Ivy captured their first win of the season on home turf against Marist (3–4–0) on March 12, but could not preserve the momentum in Philadelphia Saturday when they fell 7–2 to national powerhouse No. 4 Penn (6–0, 2–0).
The 11–8 win over Marist followed a difficult beginning of the season for the Elis. They faced three of the nation’s best teams in current No. 20 Boston College, No. 18 Dartmouth and No. 9 James Madison, but could not muster a win.
Head coach Anne Phillips said the losing streak was dispiriting, but that the tough competition was necessary for a young 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.”
OUTFOXING THE FOXES
That young team clicked against Marist with a comeback effort. Devon Rhodes ’13 scored four times including one goal in the team’s dominant second half,as Yale received seven of its goals from freshmen and sophomores. Before those goals started piling up, the Elis had to overcome early goalie struggles and a 7–3 first-half deficit.
“With an 0–4 record, we were just in a bad place mentally,” Devon Rhodes ’13 said after beating the Foxes. “This is absolutely enormous for us.”
Kelsea Smith ’13, Caroline Crow ’12 and Rhodes each scored early to put their team up, 3–1. But then Marist’s offense came to life and reeled off six unanswered goals. With 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.
Then Rhodes went into high gear. She took over on faceoff duty midway through the half, and her four draw controls 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 50–50 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 narrowed the visitors’ lead to 7–5 with two goals before halftime, and did not miss a beat as 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 10 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: the contest against Penn.
TAKING ON A POWERHOUSE
The Quakers took the field took the field Saturday riding a 30-game Ivy League winning streak and boasting the stingiest defense among the Ancient Eight. But they had looked mortal in their last Ivy contest, a close 9–8 victory over Harvard.
“We knew they were beatable,” goaltender Whitney Quackenbush ’12 said. “We saw their score against Harvard and knew they had lost some big guns last year and went in saying we can win this.”
The visiting Elis followed through on their pregame determination in the first half Saturday, and were tied with the Quakers five minutes into the second half. But the home team pulled away late in the game, and scored five unanswered goals en route to a 7–2 victory.
The first half was all defense, despite a goal by Penn’s Erin Brennan just 52 seconds into the game. She would go on to score once more in the first half, while leading Eli scorer Caroline Crow ’12 narrowed the score to 2–1 with the only other goal of the first 30 minutes.
Midfielder Kelsea Smith ’13 evened the score early in the second half, but then Yale’s offense went quiet and Penn’s took off. Despite eight saves by Quackenbush in the period, Penn controlled the ball for most of the half, did not commit a turnover, and took control with their five-goal run.
“They’re patient, well-coached, and well-trained,” Quackenbush said. “It’s nothing special, but they really controlled the tempo of the game, and that was huge.”
Yale will look to return to the win column when it hosts Boston University at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.