Having stumbled in its last three games, the women’s lacrosse team hit its stride yesterday against No. 9 Boston University.
The Elis (2-3, 0-1 Ivy), who started their season 1-3 and dropped out of the top 20 last week, downed the Terriers 6-4 at Johnson Field yesterday afternoon. Led by attackers Alessandra Croffy ’05 and Lauren Taylor ’08, who had two goals apiece, the Elis took a 2-0 lead five minutes into the matchup and never looked back. The win was crucial for the Bulldogs, who were struggling to break their losing streak.
“It’s a big step up from our three losses over break,” defender Jess Champion ’07 said. “It’s great for us to see the results of our hard work pay off.”
Much of the Bulldogs’ success can be attributed to a newly-improved attack. Since losing their Ivy League opener to Penn, the Elis have been working hard to create a more dynamic offense. The effort included quicker ball movement and a more effective clear from the defensive end.
“We’ve been working on generating stuff for our attack, like moving the ball better,” midfielder Sarah Driscoll ’05 said. “Our midfield transition was key — we did a good job working the ball up the field.”
Led by Champion and midfielder Lindsay Levin ’07, the Eli defense was a key factor in the win. Champion caused four turnovers and had four ground balls to lead the effort. Levin was responsible for constraining BU’s star freshman Jenny Hauser, who has 16 goals and five assists on the season. Levin managed to keep Hauser away from the goal, and the standout was able to contribute just one assist in the game.
The Bulldogs also tried out a new substitution strategy yesterday. In order to spark more energy on offense without losing focus on the defensive end, head coach Amanda O’Leary made the decision to continually substitute midfielders Sarah Scalia ’06 and Lara Melniker ’07. Whenever the Bulldogs were on the attack, offensive-minded Melniker would take the field. When the Terriers were controlling the play, Scalia substituted in to bolster defensive efforts.
“We incorporated a new substitution on the fly which helped both our offense and defense,” O’Leary said.
Croffy and midfielder Katherine Sargent ’05 put Yale ahead early with a goal each in the opening five minutes of the game. But Boston held the Bulldogs scoreless for over 20 minutes, and Lauren Morton and Lindsay Lewis scored for the Terriers to tie the game up at two.
Despite the sudden reversal in momentum, the Elis did not lose confidence.
“I think with seven seniors on the field, you have to believe that they can hold it together,” O’Leary said. “And they did that for us today.”
At 26:14, Taylor hit her first goal of the game. She gained control of the ball halfway between midfield and the goal, and she had an open lane through the Terrier defense before she fired a shot past BU goaltender Anne Sheridan, who had 11 saves in the game. Taylor’s goal put the Elis ahead 3-2 heading into halftime.
Taylor opened the second period scoring off a free position shot at 9:03 into the half. Driscoll scored five minutes later to give the Bulldogs a 5-2 advantage, their biggest lead of the game. Morton responded with two goals within four minutes for the Terriers to cut Yale’s lead to just one goal. Eli goaltender Lonnie Sarnell ’06 made some key saves as the Bulldogs fought to quell BU’s onset. Croffy found the net at 25:02 to give Yale the insurance goal.
The Elis were excited to end their downhill slide and finally see a positive result.
“They finally put two halves together,” O’Leary said. “Overall, it was a long-awaited victory.”
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