The women’s lacrosse team earned its first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1984 Sunday and will host its first round game against Syracuse Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Johnson Field.
One year after an NCAA selection committee snub ended its postseason hopes, Yale finally got its ticket to the big dance. On Sunday evening the NCAA selection committee handed the Ivy League co-champion Elis an at-large invitation to join the field of 16.
“It was a great way for the seniors to go out,” attacker Caroline Petrovick ’03 said. “Its something that we had fought for so long and for the past couple of years we were always on the bubble. We were all very excited that we were finally able to make it this season.”
Yale had to wait an extra day to get its NCAA berth. The No. 9 Bulldogs (13-3, 6-1 Ivy) shared the Ivy League championship with Dartmouth and Princeton. Since the three teams had split their games against each other, there was no clear way to determine the recipient of the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. On Saturday evening, in a random drawing conducted by the league, Princeton earned the nod for the automatic bid.
“Three names went in and one came out,” Yale head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Unfortunately, the one that came out wasn’t ours. But even then we had very little doubt that we were going to be picked [by the NCAA selection committee]. We had done everything that we needed to do to make the 16. Our quality win factor, the strengths of our schedule, and our overall record, all the criteria that the selection committee were looking for, we had.”
No. 11 Syracuse (10-5, 5-1 Big East) enters the tournament with the Big East Conferences’ automatic bid. In their six-season history as a Division I varsity team, the Orangewomen have made it to the tournament three times, only to fall in the first round each time: losing 11-10 to Georgetown in 2000, 10-4 to North Carolina in 2001 and 16-8 to Cornell last year.
For Yale, juggling postseason play with finals will be a challenge, as exams begin today. The only Bulldogs that will be officially excused from their exams will be those that have finals on Thursday afternoon. All others will have to make individual arrangements with professors.
“It is going to be a little tough, especially on people who have a [Thursday] morning final,” Petrovick said. “I don’t think it will be that much of a problem, though, because we’re use to going out to a game right after classes on Wednesday. We play really well when we have nothing to lose. For us, getting into the tournament was the hard part. Now’s the fun part.”