In a speed contest between a tiger and a bulldog, the tiger is going to win.
In Saturday’s game against Princeton, the women’s lacrosse team was a step behind the visitors, and the Tigers raced to a 15-6 victory over the Bulldogs. The Elis’ (3-8, 0-4 Ivy) loss to the No. 7 Tigers (9-1, 3-0) eliminated their chance at an Ivy League title.
While the score might suggest that the game was one-sided, Yale was strong on both ends of the field. But in the transition game the Elis were completely dominated, as the Tigers pounced on their fast break opportunities and scored more than half of their goals in transition.
“We did what we needed to do on both offense and defense,” said midfielder Jenn Warden ’09, who led the Bulldogs with three goals. “But we had some difficulties in the transition game, both in recovering on defense and clearing the ball to our offense.”
After seven minutes of play, Princeton finally broke through Eli defense and scored the first goal of the match. While the Bulldogs have historically given up the first goal of the game, the fact that they held their opponent scoreless for such an extended period of time was encouraging.
But it was not the case that the Eli defense was slacking. All of Princeton’s first six goals in the opening half of the match came on a fast break, a face-off or a free possession shot.
There was a glimpse of hope when Warden got a free-shot opportunity after she was fouled. Princeton’s goalie Erin Tochihara, who had seen only one shot before Warden’s, didn’t stand a chance against the low stick-side shot by the Bulldogs’ leading scorer. Tochihara, who is sixth in the nation in save percentage, made seven saves.
Midfielder Ariana Papier ’11 was the next Eli to get on the board. Papier took the ball from behind the net and cut up on top of the crease. She then quickly turned to face the goal for a quick shot at the top right corner.
It wasn’t until Princeton’s ninth and final goal of the first half that the Tigers got a goal off of ball movement around the net. Holly McGarvie took control of the ball at the top of the eighth meter and passed to Lizzy Drumm, who made a back-door cut from behind the net for an easy shot past goalie Whitney Quackenbush ’12. Drumm had a team high five goals against the Elis.
But the Elis would get one last goal before the half. With time winding down, Warden drove hard to the goal and was mauled by four Tigers. She received a free shot from the top of the arch with seven seconds left in the half and did not let that opportunity go to waste.
Perhaps the best example of things not going the Bulldogs’ way was the Tigers’ goal that came just shy of five minutes into the second half. Princeton’s McGarvey slipped and lost control of ball, then had time to regain it and take a hard bouncing shot past Quackenbush.
Goalie Katie Janian ’11 came in a few minutes later and played the majority of the second half.
“We really wanted to slow the pace of the game in the second half,” Janian said. “We wanted to take the game as it came because we didn’t play consistently in the first half.”
The Elis did string together a nice display of offense with just under 10 minutes left in the match. The seniors Warden and Fragapane scored a combined three goals in as many minutes. A nice goal after a strong drive to net by Warden was preceded and followed by two free-shot goals by Fragapane.
With the loss, the Elis were eliminated from Ivy League contention. No. 3 Penn (10-0, 4-0) has already won all its conference games so far, meaning the Elis will not be able to catch the Quakers in the standings. Yale will return to Ivy play this Wednesday at Columbia (5-5, 0-4).
“We’re still dedicated to improving every day,” attacker Jenna Block ’10 said. “I don’t think a single player on this team is willing to lose on Wednesday.”