After upsetting No. 9 Boston University at home on Wednesday, the women’s lacrosse team is looking to take down another top-10 team.
The Elis (2-3, 0-1 Ivy) will host No. 7 Dartmouth (4-0) at Johnson Field Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs’ victory over the Terriers halted Yale’s three-game winless stretch, and the Elis are hoping to extend that success in their game against the Big Green.
“[Wednesday’s] win gives us a lot of momentum for Saturday’s game against Dartmouth,” midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 said. “It was a much-needed confidence boost, and we’ll carry that energy into the game on Saturday.”
Dartmouth, however, will enter the matchup on quite the high. The Big Green is recently coming off key wins against national powers Maryland and James Madison and is looking for its first win in the Ancient Eight.
The Bulldog attack will need to be sharp against Dartmouth, whose two-time All-Ivy goaltender, Devon Wills, has a .538 save percentage and 6.61 goals against average. Wills has proven herself to be particularly effective against Yale. In last year’s meeting between the Elis and the Big Green, she had a season-high 13 saves to help Dartmouth to the 13-9 victory.
“Their best player right now is probably their goalie,” Yale captain Kerry Docherty ’05 said. “If we get a couple of quick goals on her, hopefully she’ll break down mentally.”
Wills is supported by a strong defense, which averages just 6.50 goals allowed per game. The Big Green has held half of its opponents this season to just three goals.
Sargent believes that facing such a stout defensive squad adds a little more pressure to Yale’s offense.
“They typically have a strong defense so every attacker will need to be a scoring threat,” Sargent said.
Yale will look to Sargent and midfielder Lauren Taylor ’08 to lead the Eli attack. Sargent and Taylor pace the team with 10 goals apiece. Taylor scored twice in the Bulldogs’ last outing to help defeat Boston University. Sargent had a goal and an assist in last year’s meeting with the Big Green. The Elis will also work on their midfield transition in preparation for Saturday’s game — the Bulldogs have had some difficulty this season clearing the ball to the attackers.
“We will continue to work on getting the ball out of our defensive end and our shooting,” Yale head coach Mandee O’Leary said.
The Dartmouth attack will be led by Katieanne Christian, the Big Green’s leading scorer. Christian has 14 goals and two assists for the season. Her season-high came against James Madison on Wednesday, when she tallied five goals.
Dartmouth averages 13.50 goals per game, over twice as many as their opponents, so the Bulldog defense, led by Docherty, will need to be on its toes. The Elis have yet to win a game in which they allowed more than seven goals. In last year’s meeting, the Bulldogs held the Big Green to 27 shots on goal, while the Elis notched seven.
Yale will look to draw on its recent success to come out on top against Dartmouth.
“In order to beat Dartmouth, we need to play like we did on Wednesday — with a lot of intensity, pride, composure and skill,” Docherty said.