The women’s lacrosse team won its season opener Thursday afternoon using the mixture of veteran leadership and young talent it will rely on all season.

In a 7-5 win over the University of New Hampshire (0-2) Thursday afternoon at Johnson Field, the Bulldogs (1-0) got their season off to a solid start. For the veterans, Clarissa Clarke ’03 contributed two goals and one assist and captain Megan Strenski ’02 anchored a solid defensive effort, while newcomer Sarah Driscoll ’05 had two goals in her Johnston Field debut.

“I was actually very happy with what we did today,” said Yale head coach Amanda O’Leary, whose starting lineup today featured three freshmen, Katherine Sargent, Lisa Reindl and Driscoll. “We expect a lot out of the three of them.”

Led by Driscoll, the trio delivered yesterday. With just over seven minutes left, the freshman from Belle Mead, N.J., clinched the outcome when she took a pass from Sarah Queener ’03 in front of the net and quickly fired in her second goal of the game, giving Yale a three-goal cushion, 7-4.

Queener finished the day with three assists and one goal — the game winner. With 13:25 left in the game, Sophie Melniker ’04 got the ball behind the net to Clarke, who fed a cutting Queener for the goal, giving Yale a 6-3 lead.

Defensively, goalie Amanda Laws ’03 turned in a solid effort between the pipes while Strenksi led the way as Yale disrupted the Wildcat offense.

“They were spreading it out a lot and trying to slow the pace down,” said Strenski, who added that the Eli defense had to be aggressive to combat the slow UNH tempo. “We play better when we play aggressively.”

Although Yale had a number of scoring chances in the early minutes, New Hampshire opened the scoring with a goal by Jessie Groszkowski eight and half minutes into the game.

The Bulldogs tied it up six minutes later when Miles Whitman ’04, last year’s leading scorer and Ivy League Rookie of the Year, tallied Yale’s first goal of the season. After a UNH defender mishandled the ball in front of her own net, Whitman collected the loose ball, spun to her left, and fired it home to knot the score at 1.

Yale scored the next four goals, including a Driscoll goal with seven seconds left in the half that made the score 3-1. Only 13 seconds into the second half, the Elis struck again, as Melniker found the net to give Yale a 4-1 lead.

The Wildcats did not roll over, though, using two straight Groszkowski goals to narrow the deficit to 4-3. Yale responded with a goal by Clarke to up the advantage to two goals.