W. LACROSSE | Elis held off by Tigers

With 24 seconds remaining on the game clock, women’s lacrosse attacker Jen DeVito ’14 sent a shot into the Tigers’ net after taking a pass from Meghan Murray ’14.

Despite the dramatic finish, however, DeVito’s goal was not nearly enough for the Bulldogs to reverse the 12-4 score in their favor. The Elis have shown improvement with every successive road trip, but the team still fell short of picking up a conference victory on Saturday in Princeton. Even with captain Caroline Crow ’12 recording her fourth hat trick of the season, No.18 Princeton’s home-field advantage proved too big an obstacle for the visitors to overcome.

“Today was a tough game, mentally and physically,” Murray said.

For much of the first half after Yale attacker Sabin van der Linden ’14 and Princeton’s Caroline Rehfuss faced off, both teams were evenly matched. Although the Tigers (6-4, 3-1 Ivy) ended up scoring first at 22:49 by taking advantage of a turnover, the Bulldogs (3-7, 0-4 Ivy) paced their game, marking key players and trying to look for openings despite the goal deficit.

Goalkeeper Erin McMullan ’14 said since Princeton allowed a lot of turnovers and ground balls, Yale kept Princeton off the scoreboard.

“Our defense played one of the most amazing games and really kept us in the game the entire first half,” Murray said.

Twenty-four minutes into the game, however, Yale began handing a goal almost every two minutes to the hosts. Crow barely avoided a first-half shutout by scoring Yale’s first goal with about a minute and a half before the whistle to close the first half 5-1 in Princeton’s favor. Considering the Tigers’ goal average of 12.50 per game, the Elis displayed outstanding defense.

“Princeton was a great team on both ends of the field,” McMullan said.

She added its defense was very scrappy, which limited Yale’s offensive opportunities to score.

McMullan blocked a couple of near-goals, deflecting two of Princeton’s Cassie Pyle’s powerful shots at 18:24 and 17:41.

Head coach Anne Phillips said McMullan played extremely well with five saves in the first half to keep Princeton’s offence in check.

The Bulldogs began the second half on a bad note by giving away the draw control to the Tigers. Almost immediately, the hosts connected the draw to a clear and took it all the way into Yale’s net. From that point on, the Tigers began their goal barrage. Three minutes after their sixth goal, they added one more and within a minute, they slammed in another for a total of eight, crushing Yale’s hope of coming back in the second period. Although Phillips called for a strategic time out to slow down the opponents’ pace, it was not enough to stop the Tigers from adding yet another goal two minutes after the match resumed. To exacerbate the situation, the Bulldogs’ desperation began to be reflected in their number of fouls committed. The fouls allowed Princeton to put two more goals on the board to show a score gap of 10 between the hosts and the visitors once the Tigers dominated the flow of the game.

However, the Bulldogs refused to give up. Twenty-one minutes into the second period, assisted by DeVito, Crow ended Yale’s goal draught, although her effort was again negated 40 seconds later when the Tigers returned the favor. Four minutes before the end of the match, Crow rushed into the Tigers’ zone and slammed in a goal to turn the score into 12-3, recording a hat trick while she was at it. Towards the end, when Princeton failed a clear attempt, Yale’s Murray and DeVito duo created a last minute goal chance, with Murray picking up the ball and DeVito rounding it out with a goal.

Murray said that Princeton showed solid defense. She added that if Yale had had the ball for more time on attack, the team could have capitalized on the opportunities.

Besides their high number of goals, the Tigers overwhelmed the Bulldogs in every aspect, except in saves (8-7). Draw control, traditionally one of Yale’s major strengths, recorded only half of Princeton’s total (12-6). The Elis also committed almost double the number of fouls the Tigers generated (21-11).

Phillips said extra possession on the draws and seven turnovers on the clear gave Princeton 13 extra possessions, on which they capitalized.

As for the number of shots taken, the Tigers outdid Yale’s 20 with their 33.

“We cannot shoot that poorly and win against a team like Princeton,” Phillips said.

The Bulldogs now have five matches remaining this season, with three of them Ivy League matches. Although the team has so far scored 93 times in total to surpass last season’s recorded goals, it has yet to grab a win in the Ivies.

“We will continue to take one game at a time and work to improve shooting percentage, draw control and most importantly limit unforced turnovers,” Phillips said.

After taking a four-day break, the Elis will travel to New York on Wednesday to take on Stony Brook at 3 p.m.

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