Three straight Ivy wins proved too great a task for the women’s lacrosse team.
The Elis left their home turf to take on No. 13 Cornell on Saturday only to return with a 17–9 loss despite a hat trick by attacker Kerri Fleishhacker ’15. With their defeat and the victories of the three third-place teams this weekend, Cornell, Harvard and Princeton, the Bulldogs had to settle for sixth place in the Ivy League.
“Cornell was experienced and skilled and with seven starting seniors. We entered the game as the underdog,” head coach Anne Phillips said.
Although Yale midfielder Christina Doherty ’15 won the face-off and took the first draw control, the Big Red retook control of the game by picking up a ground ball 50 seconds into the first half and scored within the next minute. However, with Doherty winning the draw again, midfielder Cathryn Avallone ’15 scored to even the score only 90 seconds after the hosts’ first goal.
After Cornell replied with another goal, captain Caroline Crow ’12 created an opportunity for attacker Devon Rhodes ’13 to even out the score. Then at 21:24 midfielder Ashley McCormick ’14 rallied past the field and fired a shot that took Cornell goalie off guard to take Yale one ahead of the home team. However, Yale’s momentum broke when the Big Red came back with three more goals. The Elis finished the first half with Fleishhacker adding one more.
“Cornell’s offense is one of the most potent offenses our defense has faced this year, since they have multiple weapons,” goalkeeper Erin McMullan ’14 said.
She added that the hosts had more ball possessions for most of the first half, and for Yale to give up only five goals in the first half was actually quite remarkable.
However, in the second half, the Big Red (9–4, 4–2 Ivy) stepped up its offense, going on an all-out scoring rampage against the Bulldogs. Within the first three minutes, Cornell rushed in two goals. Then a minute later, Yale’s Crow notched a goal of her own to reduce the scoring gap to two. Despite Fleishhacker’s attempt to narrow down the goal difference by scoring three goals for the Bulldogs, it was not enough to reverse the flow of the game that went to Cornell’s side early in the second half.
Fleishhacker said the Cornell had a solid defensive unit that worked well together. She added that the defense consistently “swarmed the ball” when Yale had possession.
Over the course of three minutes, the hosts doubled their score to make the game 12–6 in their favor. Yale (5–9, 2–5 Ivy) tried to rally back, with the upperclassmen attackers Rhodes and Crow moving quickly to score two more for the Elis. With Fleishhacker’s hat trick goal, the Bulldogs rounded out their comeback attempt with three minutes remaining in regulation.
Phillips said offensively, the team’s attack did not handle the defensive pressure well and needed to be more composed.
As Cornell pounded in two more goals in the last two minutes, the Elis had no choice but to concede defeat. Despite fairly good matchups in defense, Yale ended up allowing 17 goals, 12 in the second half alone.
“Unfortunately, their offense got fired up after halftime and we couldn’t keep up,” McMullan said.
The Elis outdid the Big Red in draw controls, 15–13, and McMullan recorded 17 more saves than her Big Red counterpart. However, the Big Red had four times the number of shots that Yale did, 45–11, and committed half the number of turnovers, 20–10.
“Ultimately the 20 turnovers doomed our chances of winning,” Phillips said.
Phillips also said although Yale won draw controls, shot extremely well, and McMullan had a season high 19 saves in goal, the team could not counter Cornell’s experience or its depth on the bench.
The team has concluded its Ivy League season. The Bulldogs improved over last season’s standings, stepping up two notches and scoring a total of 54 goals in conference matches in comparison to 26 goals scored last season.
“Our team has made great progress this year, though we had a lot of youth and inexperience,” Phillips said.
She added that she is pleased with how hard the team has worked this season, and the experience gained will serve its program well in the future.
The Elis will travel to Boston for their final match this season on Saturday for an away game against No. 17 Boston College.