After a tough 7-6 loss Saturday at home against Dartmouth, the women’s lacrosse team (6-2, 1-1 Ivy) rebounded Wednesday, defeating Fairfield University (1-6), 13-8.
“It was a full team effort,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “All 26 players got to play, which is a big thing for us since some of those players haven’t played in a game yet.”
Out of the blocks, Fairfield, playing on its home field, gave Yale a scare. The Stags tacked up back-to-back goals on their first two possessions to go ahead, 2-0. Meanwhile, although Yale had a couple of early shots on goal, the Elis could not find the net.
“We definitely got caught on our heels early,” captain Clarissa Clarke ’03 said. “It is sometimes hard to continue to play with the same level of intensity when you’re playing a weaker team. It took us the first 10 minutes to realize where they were playing at, but after we made the adjustments, we knew we would be fine.”
The Bulldogs responded to the challenge, scoring the next six goals to take a 6-2 lead. During the Yale scoring frenzy, Clarke and midfielder Sophie Melniker ’04 each had two scores while attacker Caroline Petrovick ’03 and midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 added one each.
“Our starting team did a good job,” O’Leary said. “They had some pretty goals and came up big on defense. They were playing very well as a unit.”
With 27:25 left in the first half, Fairfield rookie sensation Beth Loffredo scored her third goal of the day. Loffredo found the net twice more in the game to finish with five scores.
“She caught us off guard a lot,” defender Jenn Kessel ’04 said. “A lot of our defense was pressuring out, and sometimes the wings did not come in as quickly as they should have. She was very smart in being exactly where she needed to be at exactly the time she needed to be there.”
Responding to Loffredo’s third goal, attacker Emily Condlin ’06 and midfielder Miles Whitman ’04 scored to give Yale an 8-3 lead at halftime.
After the intermission, Whitman and attacker Sarah Queener ’03 found the net, extending Yale’s lead to 10-3.
With the large cushion, O’Leary decided to give her bench players some action, replacing all Yale’s starters, including the goalie Amanda Laws ’03.
But youth was no match for experience: Yale’s shaky second squad gave up four consecutive goals.
“Whenever you pull an entire squad and put a new squad, there’s going to be a transition period,” O’Leary said. “That transition took a little longer than I had thought, and [Fairfield] took advantage of it.”
With Fairfield within three, 10-7, Yale’s starters re-entered and the veterans did not disappoint. Yale’s Sargent scored with 16:29, sparking a three-goal late run to seal the Eli victory.
On Saturday, Yale will travel to Cambridge to meet Harvard (1-6, 1-0 Ivy), which faced Boston University yesterday.
The Terriers put on a clinic for he Cantabs, scoring six unanswered goals in the first half. By the time the nightmarish game ended for the Crimson, the scoreboard read 13-2 in favor of Boston.
Yale defeated Boston University March 28 by a score of 12-8.
Draw control and defense were key elements of Boston’s win and will be equally critical for Yale this weekend.
Yale will be in good shape if they have a repeat performance of yesterday. The Elis gave up only two free-possession shots on goal and won the draw 16 of 32 times.
Despite a struggling Harvard team, Yale is not taking the Crimson lightly. In their last three meetings, Yale has won each decision by one goal.
“It doesn’t matter what either of our records are,” O’Leary said. “We can be the worst team in the league, and they can be the worst team in the league. If you look at the past three years, despite the fact that we have always been ranked and they have always not, we’ve had nothing less than a tough fight from them. We expect nothing less from them this time around, especially considering that they will be playing at home.”