While the women’s lacrosse team was playing at home this weekend, it was No. 3 Princeton who looked most comfortable at Johnson Field.
The No. 18 Elis’ three-game winning streak came to a screeching halt this weekend as the Tigers (8-2, 3-0 Ivy) blew past the Bulldogs (5-5. 1-3) 11-5 on Saturday afternoon. An unsettled Yale team botched clears and bungled its transition efforts while Princeton controlled the flow of the game and capitalized on the Elis’ uncharacteristic number of errors to remain undefeated in the Ancient Eight.
“It was very frustrating to come up with turnovers on the defensive end and just to lose the ball at midfield over and over again,” midfielder Sarah Scalia ’06 said. “It’s not that we played badly, but in transition we didn’t do well at getting the ball out.”
Going into the contest, the Bulldogs knew the Princeton attack was among the best in the nation. But what the Elis found out shortly after the game started was that the Princeton attack was even better than expected. Despite a strong defensive effort from the Elis, spearheaded by midfielder Lindsay Levin ’07, the Tigers dominated the majority of the game.
Led by all-Americans Lindsey Biles and Elizabeth Pillion, the Princeton attack peppered goaltender Ellen Cameron ’08 with shots. The freshman goalie came up with a season-high 10 saves for the afternoon, but her efforts were not enough to contain the Tigers.
Overall, Yale captain Kerry Docherty ’05 thought the defense held its own against the potent Tiger attack.
“Defensively, I thought we played a really solid game,” Docherty said. “Lindsay Levin, as usual, did a great job faceguarding their best player, and minus a couple slip-ups on their transition, we held them out well.”
The Tigers controlled the ball for nearly the entire game, only granting Yale possession for scattered two or three-minute spans. Yale’s leading scorer, attacker Lauren Taylor ’08 was held to just a goal and an assist, the first time this year she has not had multiple goals in a game.
“We definitely didn’t give the attack enough opportunities to shoot,” Scalia said. “But even when we did, the shot selections were out of desperation. There were too many shots that weren’t really good-quality shots. It was just a matter of getting them the ball, and letting them hold onto it longer.”
Early in the game, it looked as though Yale would stand toe-to-toe with the Tigers. Pillion notched the first goal of the game, but Eli midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 quickly retaliated. After attacker Marya Myers ’07 scored minutes later, Yale grabbed its first, and only, lead of the afternoon.
Princeton pulled ahead shortly after, off of goals from Ingrid Goldberg and Katie Lewis-Lamonica, but Taylor found the net five minutes later to tie the game at three with fifteen minutes left in the first half. Princeton’s Mary Minshall and Yale’s Myers each nailed shots around the ten-minute mark to keep the score even, but the Tigers quickly gained control of the ball and tallied three quick goals to end the half with a 7-4 advantage going into the break.
The Tigers opened the second half with a four-goal scoring run, off goals from Kathleen Miller, Biles and Pillion. Princeton held the Elis scoreless for the first 28 minutes of the half. Midfielder Lara Melniker ’07 notched the Elis’ only goal of the period at 1:49, but it was too late for the Bulldogs to make a comeback.
“Everyone was disappointed in the game, not just because we lost, but also because we didn’t play up to our potential,” Levin said. “Especially as evidenced by the second half, we didn’t put up much of a fight. We thought we could take it to them, but then we just didn’t perform.”
With the loss, the Bulldogs have concluded the most challenging part of their season. The Elis have already played the top two teams in the Ivy League — Princeton and Dartmouth — and only have one nationally-ranked competitor left in No. 13 Cornell (4-5, 1-2).
“At this point, we’re hoping to win out the rest of our games, which is extremely feasible,” Docherty said.
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