Maintaining a season-long trend, the women’s lacrosse team could not overcome its opponent’s strong first half, this time succumbing to Boston University 16-15 in the final game at Reese Stadium.
The Terriers (6-8, 2-4 Am. East) scored 10 goals in the opening 18 minutes of the contest to open up a lead they would never lose. Though the Bulldogs pushed back in the end of the first half, they ended their last home game on a loss.
“They were just out-hustling us to so many ground balls and draw controls right from the faceoff,” Flannery Carney ’16 said. “They also made smart decisions on their attack and were able to bury their shots and really peg us back in the opening stages of the game.”
The Elis (7-7, 1-5 Ivy) did not really get going until there was 12 minutes left in the first half. Head coach Anne Phillips changed goalkeepers and inserted Erin Mullins ’15 in goal for her first minutes of the season. This seemed to have enlivened the Elis, who went on to score four of the next six goals to close out the half. Captain Devon Rhodes ’13 capped her first-half hat trick, and midfielder Erin Magnuson ’15 scored one of her three goals with 39 seconds remaining to leave the halftime score at 12-6 to BU.
But Yale came back with a spectacular second half. While the Terriers scored the first two goals of the second period, the Bulldogs showed their teeth for the first time in the contest and scored six unanswered goals in five minutes. Rhodes started the charge in the final home game of her career, scoring at the 12 minute mark before her joint top scorer, Nicole Daniggelis ’16, tallied her fourth goal just over a minute later. Attackers Jen DeVito ’14 and Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 scored their only goals of the contest before a further Daniggelis brace brought the Bulldogs to within two of the Terriers. However, BU scored with 10 minutes remaining to increase its lead. The Terriers then stood firm, counting on goalkeeper Christina Sheridan to make three big saves before top scorer Danielle Etrasco added her sixth goal of the contest with only 4:20 left on the clock.
But Yale’s leading scorers Rhodes and Daniggelis refused to give up. They each scored their fifth goals of the game to bring the Bulldogs within two goals with three minutes remaining on the clock. Magnuson added her third goal with two minutes remaining, but that was all the fight the Bulldogs could muster before the final whistle.
“We just came out in the second half with more intensity and hustle,” Carney said. “We played really well as a team and refused to give up, and I think it showed through our amazing comeback. While it always hurts to lose, it was great to see the team fight all the way through the final whistle as we tried to win our final home game for our two seniors.”
The Bulldogs’ increased defensive and offensive effort in the second half took Yale to within one goal of a spectacular comeback. The Elis held the Terriers to four goals in the second half and improved in nearly every statistical category, beating BU in draw controls, shots, ground balls and clears while committing fewer turnovers and fouls. Defender Adrienne Tarver ’14 anchored the Yale defense, picking up four ground balls and causing two turnovers in the second half. Mullins also had a solid game in her fist outing in goal, with four saves on 10 shots. Yale’s much improved offense, which featured six players recording over 20 points on the season, was again led by top scorers Rhodes and Daniggelis, who both rank in the top 10 in the Ivy League in points per game.
“We had a lot of players step up in the second half and take one of the last opportunities we have to be a leader on the field this season,” midfielder Tori Virtue ’16 said. “We have fallen into this ‘second half comeback’ type of team, and the game today proved this true and highlighted the need to change this starting Saturday and carrying that into next year. The team that took the field during the second half completely won the game for the time being. Unfortunatly, our first half let-up led us to fall just short of our goal for the game as a whole.”
While the first half is definitely one to forget for the Bulldogs, there was solace in seeing the second half comeback the Bulldogs displayed. While Yale must be able to start its final game better than it did the penultimate, the Bulldogs will be able to take their second-half momentum to Providence.
The Bulldogs take on Brown in the final game of the season this Saturday in Providence, R.I., at 1 p.m..