The Yale women’s lacrosse team is 4-0 and ranked 15th in the nation — and the Bulldogs have no intention of stopping there.
The No. 15 Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 Ivy) have proven themselves an early-season contender for the Ivy title after another stunning victory against the University of New Hampshire (2-2). Despite inclement weather Wednesday, the Elis trounced the Wildcats 13-10 at the Hart Center Field at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
Attacker Miles Whitman ’04, the current Ivy League Player of the Week, propelled Yale to victory by netting seven goals and assisting on two others. Whitman showed no mercy on the turf, taking advantage of every inch the defense gave her and capitalizing on her opponents’ every mistake.
Even with the win, the Bulldogs surrendered 10 goals, more than they have allowed in their first three games combined — a wake-up call for the Bulldogs.
“We had anticipated that New Hampshire would be a better team than we had seen in the past,” head coach Mandy O’Leary said. “And this was obviously not our best defensive day.”
New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead 24 seconds into the game, but Whitman was quick to strike back. The freshman tied the score just 16 seconds later.
The Bulldogs would then take the lead for good only a minute later when Whitman set up the first of three goals by attacker Clarissa Clarke ’03.
“Whitman just has a nose for the goal,” O’Leary said. “She just knows when to go.”
The Wildcats however remained within striking distance throughout.
New Hampshire was down by two halfway through the first half, but the Elis scored three goals in the last 3:56 to pull away. The 10-5 halftime lead came on the strength of four goals from Whitman, three from Clarke, two from attacker Sarah Queener ’03 and one from attacker Clara Gillespie ’01.
“I was lucky that I got so many opportunities to go in one-on-one,” Whitman said.
But O’Leary said Whitman — the team’s leading scorer with 16 goals — has seen such success by playing with such skilled teammates.
“It takes everybody to clear space for Miles to go, but she has certainly done a tremendous job for us,” O’Leary said.
Whitman opened the second half scoring to build the largest lead of the game for the Bulldogs at six, 11-5. Again, the Wildcats sprang back, scoring two quick goals in less than a minute.
The Wildcats’ resilience surprised O’Leary throughout the game.
“They just never let up,” she said.
While Whitman would net two more goals in the half, New Hampshire attacker Jessie Groszkowski scored three goals and attacker Colleen Christopher added a pair to pull the ‘Cats within three.
“They were a very aggressive attacking team, and they had some really strong shooters, so they have posed the greatest threat of any team we’ve faced so far,” Whitman said.
But New Hampshire could get no closer.
One obstacle both teams contended with was the mixed bag of precipitation, leading to unpredictable game play — and a high-scoring contest.
“I could not feel my hands the entire game and had a lot of trouble holding on to the stick,” defender Mollie Ricker ’01 said. “But we did pull out the win and are now 4-0, and, in the end, that’s what counts.”
The Elis now focus on this weekend, which will present the team’s toughest challenge yet — No. 12 Dartmouth.
“Saturday will be a good test for us,” O’Leary said.
This will be a true measuring stick for the red-hot Bulldogs, and a win could propel them into the nation’s top 10.
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