The best description of yesterday’s events for the victorious offensive corps of the women’s lacrosse team can be captured in the saying, “When it rains, it pours.”
While the nationally ranked No. 14 Bulldogs’ motto might be “so sick,” it was the Fairfield Stags (1-6) who may have left Johnson Field feeling under the weather. The Bulldogs (5-3, 1-1 Ivy) demolished their intra-state rivals, 25-3. The 25 tallies tied a 23-year-old school record for most goals scored in a game. Yale returns to action when it hosts Harvard (3-3, 0-1) Saturday.
Fairfield’s Beth Loffredo trimmed Yale’s lead to 4-2 at 18:26 of the first half, but midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 responded with the first of 16 unanswered Eli goals.
After relying heavily on All-Ivy midfielder Miles Whitman ’04 for its offense in a 13-9 loss to Dartmouth (4-2, 2-0) last weekend, the Elis spread the wealth yesterday. Yale got goals from 12 different players, including hat tricks from midfielders Lara Melniker ’07, Sarah Driscoll ’05, Lindsay Levin ’07 and Sargent and attacker Carli Vogler ’06.
“This kind of game is always tough because it’s always tough to play to [your] level when you’re playing a [weaker team],” Sargent said. “We were really focused and we took the game seriously.”
Whitman, an Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll selection following her four goal and two assist performance against Dartmouth, contributed two goals and an assist in limited action.
“It’s just a great feeling when you can go out there and have everyone contribute,” said Whitman, who led the conference in both goals and assists per game entering the contest. “We just had so many people capitalizing.”
Additionally Lara Melniker, Marya Myers ’07, Sarah Scalia ’06, Tiffany Venuto ’06 and Levin recorded their first career goals.
“[Scoring my first goal] was just really exciting, and it felt like all the hard work really paid off,” Levin said.
The Bulldogs dominated every key statistical category, out-shooting the Stags 55-4, picking up 29 groundballs to Fairfield’s nine and forcing 23 turnovers.
The bench also gave Yale a huge lift, with 14 of the 25 goals coming from non-starters.
“To have teams know that we have such depth is really intimidating,” Levin said.
Defensively, goalkeepers Lonnie Sarnell ’06 and Casey Littlefield ’07 split time in net. Sarnell gave up two goals on as many shots, and Littlefield turned away one of two Stag attempts.
Compared to Fairfield goalkeeper Monica Janowitz, the Eli duo had a day at the beach, though maybe not a sunny one. Yale pelted Janowitz with 43 shots before she was pulled in favor of Kathleen Crane with 18:33 left in the game.
This weekend, Yale will face somewhat stiffer competition against the rival Cantabs. Last season, the Elis defeated Harvard in Cambridge, MA, with a score of 16-5 in the midst of rain and sleet.
“Last year was a great game for us, and I hope to keep that tradition going,” Whitman said.
Regardless of recent history, emotions will be running high.
“This is always a close game, it doesn’t matter who is ranked where,” Sargent said. “[There is] always Harvard-Yale competition. It’s going to be a fight for sure.”
Though the venue shifts to New Haven for this year’s rendition, the weather will be quite similar, with heavy precipitation in the forecast.
To prepare for the turf conditions, the Bulldogs will practice outdoors for the rest of the week, Sargent said.
While the playing conditions might be the same, there will be one visible difference. Carole Kleinfelder will not be roaming the Harvard sideline as head coach for the first time in over two decades. Kleinfelder retired last season after serving the Crimson since 1979.
Despite the coaching change, Sarah Nelson, Harvard class of 1994, brings continuity to the table. In addition to playing four years for Kleinfelder in the 1990s, Nelson has served as an assistant coach at Harvard for the last three years.
Personnel shifts aside, the Crimson-Bulldog rivalry never changes and even first-timers recognize it importance.
“I’ve been looking forward to this game all year,” Levin said. “I posted the schedule on my suite door and circled the Harvard game.”