After shocking defending national champion Princeton 7-6 on Saturday, No. 14 Yale (9-3, 3-1 Ivy) sent a follow-up message to the women’s lacrosse world Monday, throttling Monmouth (4-5, 3-0 NEC) 20-5 at Kessler Field in Monmouth, N.J.
“We just wanted to prove that our win against Princeton was not a fluke,” attacker Caroline Petrovick ’03 said. “This team [Monmouth] has an automatic bid to the tournament and we just wanted to show everyone how good we are.”
Monmouth is the perennial powerhouse in the Northeastern Conference, whose winner receives an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
Midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 paced the Bulldogs with five goals. Petrovick contributed a hat trick and four assists. Goalkeeper Amanda Laws ’03, who had nine saves against Princeton Saturday, continued her mastery of the goal cage, tallying eight saves in the first half of play. Backup goalie Lonnie Sarnell took her cue from Laws, stopping nine Monmouth shots of her own in the second half.
The Bulldogs picked up right where they had left off on Saturday, scoring a pair of goals in the first three minutes. Petrovick scored an unassisted goal 22 seconds into the contest and midfielder Sophie Melinker ’04 added a goal on an assist from Petrovick.
Less than two minutes later, Monmouth’s Kerry Pohmer trimmed the Yale lead to 2-1 with a free position goal. But the Bulldogs responded, scoring six back-to-back goals to take an 8-1 lead. During the scoring frenzy, Sargent scored three consecutive goals, all from assists by Petrovick. Yale extended its lead to 12-2 at the half.
“We just kept seeing each other and her cut happened to be open every time,” Petrovick said. “We were not running plays to each other. I guess it was just the flow of their defense.”
Late in the first half, Yale head coach Amanda O’Leary pulled the first team out of action to give her bench some game experience. The second team did not disappoint, keeping its composure despite back-to-back goals by Monmouth to open the second half. The Yale bench rattled off six unanswered goals.
“Our whole second team did amazing today,” attacker Sarah Queener ’03 said. “They [the second team] definitely proved today that we are an incredibly deep team. If the coaches were looking at just the numbers, they probably would not have known that our second team was out there in the second half.”
One reason for Yale’s success Monday is the team’s newfound appreciation for the importance of concentration. After a frustrating 15-12 loss to unranked Rutgers on April 9, the Elis had reason for soul-searching. The solution they came up with was Yale’s first victory over No. 5 Princeton in 11 years. Having both fallen and seen an opponent fall to lapses of concentration has given Yale a fresh perspective on maintaining its focus.
“Everyone was ready to play today,” Queener said. “We didn’t play down to their level. We got together before the game and talked about what we learned from the Rutgers loss. This team [Monmouth] played Rutgers to three goals.”
Yale will have to retain its intensity against two weaker opponents — Columbia and Brown — before facing Ivy rival Cornell on April 26. The Elis face Columbia first on Wednesday.
Columbia (4-7, 0-5) is on a seven-game losing skid. The Lions have lost to league opponents by at least seven goals; in four of the five games, Columbia has posted a double-digit scoring deficit. Still, Yale is not planning to take the Lions lightly.
“We are going to go in [to the Columbia game] and play hard,” Petrovick said. “It’s an Ivy League game and we always go into those playing hard. Winning the league is one way for us to get into the [NCAA] tournament and after Rutgers we’re not going to play anyone lightly.”