W. LACROSSE | McMullan ’14 charts future of Eli defense

Attacker Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 found the lower left corner of the cage and put Yale ahead 6–5 on a free position goal.
Attacker Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 found the lower left corner of the cage and put Yale ahead 6–5 on a free position goal. Photo by Eugena Jung.

Former soccer goalie Erin McMullan ’14 now plays a different sport, but her position has always been the same. As the women’s lacrosse team’s last line of defense, her teammates all rely on her.

When asked to comment about McMullan’s play after any match, defender Kallie Parchman ’14 often says, “Erin McMullan had another great day in goal.” (With three players named Erin on the team ­— all with last names beginning with “M” — including the full last name is necessary.)

Hailing from lacrosse stronghold Wading River, N.Y., McMullan started playing the sport in middle school.

“Our high school team was so good that almost everyone played [lacrosse],” she said.

Before Yale, she was second team All-Galaxy in 2009 and 2010 for the Long Island Yellow Jackets, where she met attacker Jen DeVito ’14. McMullan was also named Honorable Mention All-American in 2010.

Despite her accomplishments in net during her high school years, McMullan said college lacrosse turned out to be a lot tougher than she had initially expected.

“It was a big adjustment for me,” she said. “College was more demanding in every aspect, especially time-wise. Basically, the play elevated.”

Although the Elis relied heavily on goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush ’12 to guard the net last year, McMullan has also been instrumental in the team’s defense, playing in eight games and recording a .432 save percentage. This season, her save percentage is .447.

Of all the team’s fierce and competitive matches, McMullan particularly remembers the one against Harvard, when the Bulldogs gave away seven goals but persistently fought back to score five goals in the first half.

McMullan said Quackenbush has always been a true inspiration to her and an indispensable leader for the team.

“We have a very good relationship, always supporting each other, and I have picked up a lot from her,” she said.

This year, McMullan is seeing more field time and has played for more than 500 minutes. McMullan started in nine matches and recorded a total of 72 saves — 32 in Ivy games.

As the team prepares for Quackenbush’s graduation this May, attacker Devon Rhodes ’13 said both McMullan and Quackenbush are extremely talented players.

“[McMullan] has been playing tremendously and has stepped up so much lately,” Rhodes said.

McMullan is well aware of her pivotal role within the young Bulldogs squad. Although stepping into the leadership position may put a burden on her shoulders, she does not seem to be worried: She has her protégé and partner, goalkeeper Erin Mullins ’15, to share the team’s guard duty with her.

With only two games remaining before the season’s end, McMullan has a firmly set goal in mind.

“What all matters is the Ivies,” she said. “We want to finish on high notes and beat Cornell and come out with a win.”

McMullan, who intends to major in political science, said she feels honored to represent the school as a Bulldog and believes that Yale has always been the best fit for her.

She added that she will continue to maintain her form by constantly practicing in summer leagues during the offseason.

Now in sixth place in the Ivy League standings, the Bulldogs will once again rely on McMullan’s goaltending skills against Ivy leader Cornell in their season’s last Ivy match on Saturday.

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