After an embarrassing 9-6 loss to Notre Dame on Monday, the women’s lacrosse team had something to prove in Providence this Wednesday — and the Bulldogs’ convincing 15-6 victory over Brown was just what they were looking for.
No. 7 Yale (10-3, 5-1 Ivy), using the loss to the Fighting Irish as motivation, came out firing against Brown (5-6, 2-3), building a 9-1 halftime lead and never relenting. And to prove that the loss to the Irish was just a fluke, the Elis maintained their intensity to finish the game strong at Stevenson Field.
“There are a number of ways that you can come back from a loss like Notre Dame, and our choice was to embrace every game that we have from here on out,” captain Liz Gardner ’01 said. “We want to make sure that we never have to deal with a loss like that again.”
In the win, the Bulldogs returned to an old standby — their transition offense. The Elis’ ultra-quick midfield made every shot count, showing why Yale belongs among the nation’s elite.
“We capitalized on our fast breaks because we knew Brown wasn’t as fast as we were,” assistant coach Stephy Samaras said.
Midfielder Miles Whitman ’04 led the way for the unstoppable Elis, tallying a hat trick and three assists. Whitman is first on the team in goals with 31.
Brown opened the scoring Wednesday less than a minute into the game when the Bears leading scorer, Bekah Rottenberg, scored on a free-position shot. But the Bulldogs would have no more of that, shutting out the Bears for the rest of the half.
Attacker Katherine Myers ’01 — who has been a cornerstone of the Eli offense this year, scoring in all but one game — evened the score a minute later.
The Bulldogs then scored three more goals in 1:14 to take the lead for good.
With the comfortable 4-1 lead, the Elis played a controlled, consistent game, eliminating many of the errors — lost draw controls, dropped passes and missed ground balls — that had cost them the game against Notre Dame.
“We executed the basics — passing and catching the balls — which wasn’t there against Notre Dame,” attacker Clara Gillespie ’01 said.
With 13 minutes left in the half, Whitman found fellow attacker Clarissa Clarke ’03 in front of the net and Clarke nailed the one-timer to extend the lead to 5-1. Seven minutes later, Clarke would score again off a Whitman dish to give the Elis an intimidating 7-1 advantage.
Whitman and Clarke each added another goal before the half’s end to enter the locker room with a 9-1 lead.
“We had nine Yale goals,” Gillespie said, emphasizing that the Elis worked hard for every goal. “They were all from great passes, shots and drives. We were playing at our level.”
But the Bears came out in the second half on fire. Brown’s assist-leader Robin Juliano notched two goals in 48 seconds, catching the Bulldog defense sleeping. But it did not take long for the Bulldogs to get back on their feet and stymie the Brown attack.
Despite five second-half Brown goals, the Elis emerged victorious 15-6.
The combined efforts of Amanda Sisley ’03 and Amanda Laws ’03 in the cage accounted for 16 saves.
With the win, the Elis remain in the hunt for the Ivy League title, and in the final weekend of League play, the Bulldogs face No. 11 Cornell.
The Elis currently sit second in league behind the undefeated No. 3 Princeton squad. But the Tigers suit up against No. 10 Dartmouth this weekend — a match the Big Green has won for the past four years. Dartmouth and Yale wins would mean all three teams tie for the title.
The Elis will definitely be thinking about what is happening in Hannover this Saturday, but first, Yale must handle things at Johnson field against the Big Red. And although Yale leads the all-time series 15-5, Cornell has won two out of the last three meetings.
“We want to beat Cornell for more reasons than making it to the tournament and remaining on top of the Ivy race,” Gillespie said, referring to last year’s embarrassing 10-4 loss to the Big Red and the fact that Saturday’s game will be the last at home for the seniors.
“We’re a better team than they are, and we need to prove it to them,” Gardner said, emphasizing the strength brought to the Bulldogs by the freshman class.
The key for the Bulldogs will be consistency and executing the basics — as they did against Brown. In the past, Yale has taken early leads only to squander them late in the game. Cornell is a team that is capable of coming from behind, so the Elis cannot afford a let up. Two weeks ago Cornell scored three goals in the final 15 minutes to send the match against Dartmouth into overtime. The Big Red ended up losing 6-5 in quadruple overtime.
“They are a very patient team so we have to keep that in mind,” Samaras said.
But Gardner also said playing at home is also a big advantage, one that will help keep the Bulldogs focused in the emotional match.