W. LACROSSE | Bulldogs ready to handle Tigers

After taking a weeklong break, the women’s lacrosse team is set to play its first game in the month of April. Shifting their attention to the Ivy League competition, the Bulldogs will head to New Jersey in an attempt to grab their first Ancient Eight win against No. 18 Princeton. Although Yale (3–6, 0–3 Ivy) was finally able to secure its first away win of the season against Marist last week in New York, it failed to create a winning streak on the road after falling to Colgate 16–12 last Saturday. Princeton (4–4, 2–1 Ivy) has been showing relative strength in the Ivies, currently positioning itself in fourth place in the league.

Attacker Devon Rhodes ’13 said Princeton is a talented team that is fast, strong and great at ball handling.

None of the Ivy opponents that the Tigers have played against this season have overlapped with the teams that the Elis have faced. Princeton traveled to Brown and Columbia and beat them 18–8 and 18–6, respectively earlier this season. The Tigers’ triumphant march stopped short only when visiting No. 16 Cornell took them down 13–12 on their own turf in overtime. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are still struggling to get their first conference win. They have thus far lost to Dartmouth, Penn and Harvard 9–8, 12–6 and 7–5, respectively. They currently share the seventh spot with Columbia.

In their last meeting, the Tigers outscored the Elis 9–3 despite Yale’s home advantage. The only two Bulldogs who scored against Princeton, Rhodes (who scored one goal) and attacker Jen Devito ’14 (who contributed two more), are returning for the rematch. In last year’s match, Yale was stronger in draw controls (8–6) and had more saves (18–5) with goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush ’12 holding down the fort. But Princeton had 13 fewer turnovers, 20 more shots, four more clears and three fewer fouls.

Considering these stats alone, it is not surprising that the Tigers emerged victorious.

“We need to make better decisions with our offensive opportunities, and defensively we need to limit our fouls,” head coach Anne Phillips said. “Princeton is a veteran team.”

This season, however, the Bulldogs have been improving in turnovers, shots and clears. If the team repeats its confident movements shown against the Red Foxes, it will have higher ball possession and end up controlling the play.

Phillips said her team has defensive matchups on the Tigers to limit their offensive opportunities.

Key Princeton players include Cassie Pyle, who scored an unassisted goal in last year’s match. As last season’s first-team All-Region and second-team All-Ivy, she already has scored 23 goals this season and is currently the top scorer on the team. Another potential threat is Jaci Gassaway, who scored two goals against the Elis last year. Recording 21 goals so far this season, she was named the Ivy League Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and also earned first-team All-Region. Defenders Adrienne Tarver ’14 and Katherine Sherrill ’14′s ability in marking these two players will be a decisive factor in determining the flow of tomorrow’s game.

Captain Caroline Crow ’12 leads Yale in goals with 16, closely followed by Rhodes’ 13 goals. Goalkeeper Erin McMullan ’14 has recorded 43 saves this season. With only three more conference matches remaining after tomorrow’s match, a victory over Princeton is crucial in elevating Yale’s Ivy League standing.

“If we can beat Princeton, we give ourselves a chance to qualify for the Ivy League tournament,” Phillips said.

The Elis will take on Princeton tomorrow in New Jersey at 1 p.m.

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