The women’s lacrosse team (7–3, 1–2 Ivy) will look to its vaunted defense when the squad travels to Princeton (6–3, 2–1) to face the Tigers’ red-hot offense on Saturday.
Currently riding a two game win streak, the Elis have had one of their best seasons in recent memory thanks to strong defense and its two explosive attackers. The Bulldogs have given up double-digit goals just twice all season, both coming in conference losses to Penn and Harvard.
“I believe the key to beating Princeton this weekend is directly linked to the idea we have focused on all season in the locker room: playing Yale lacrosse,” defender Flannery Carney ’16 said. “We are all aware that this match against Princeton will be a battle, and a win is not going to come easy. However, we have trust in the incredible talent of our team and the stamina to fight until the last second of the game.”
Goaltender Erin McMullan ’14 has the 11th-best goals against average in the nation and the third most saves in the conference, while captain Adrienna Tarver ’14 has been a rock on defense for Yale. The senior defender leads the team with 29 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers, good for first and third in the Ivy League charts, respectively. She, along with starters Emily Markham ’17, Victoria Moore ’17 and Carney have helped Yale’s defensive unit rack up the most ground balls and CT’s in the league.
“Our defense is very athletic and has the ability to shut down one-on-one drives from all around the 8-meter,” Carney said. “We are also backed up by an experienced and extremely skilled goalie. The amount of hustle stats our unit has acquired so far this season is at an all time high.”
Attacker Nicole Daniggelis ’16 has backed up a 2013 season that saw her named first team All-Ivy, the only freshman to earn the honor. She has racked up 39 points–second on the team–and has futher dominated on draws, ranking fourth in the nation with 7.4 controls per game. Her partner on attack, Jen DeVito ’14, has continued to boost her assist numbers this year with 25 to her name. The senior has 40 points, already nine better than her career best with five regular season games to play. DeVito ranks first in the conference in assists and second in points, while Daniggelis stands at fourth in the league in goals and third in shots.
The Tigers are tied for second in the conference thanks to a high-powered offense that does not turn the ball over often. Princeton ranks highest in goals per game, averaging 13.33 a contest, while losing possession only 11 times a game. In comparison, the Bulldogs lead the league in turnovers, averaging 16 a game.
The Elis’ defensive unit will have its hands full as the Tigers have spread the ball around this season and possess a number of offensive weapons. Princeton has eight players registering double-digit goals so far. Freshman Anna Doherty—sister of Yale midfielder Christina Doherty ’15—leads the team with 18 goals. Her classmate Olivia Hompe has picked up the most assists on the team with 12 to add to 10 goals for a total of a team-leading 22 points.
After opening conference play with a loss to Brown, Princeton has played well in the league, holding Columbia and Cornell under seven goals each in two straight victories. The Elis, after upsetting Dartmouth by a large 12-5 margin early in the season, have struggled in-conference as of late, surrendering late goals to Harvard and Penn in back-to-back losses earlier this season.
“The Ivy League is especially competitive this year so every league game is a big one,” Daniggelis said. “We are expecting a physical and fast paced game but we match up well with Princeton. We’ve had a full week of solid practice so I think this weekend will be a good one.”
The Bulldogs face-off at 1:00 p.m. against the Tigers in New Jersey.