This Saturday at noon, the Elis will head to Hanover, N.H., to kick off this season’s Ancient Eight play against No. 14 Dartmouth.
The Bulldogs (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) have good momentum heading into this weekend after defeating the Holy Cross Crusaders last Sunday, 17–13. Yale was supposed to play against Boston University on Wednesday but the game was canceled due to inclement weather. Dartmouth, last season’s co-Ivy Champion with Penn, demonstrated its prowess at its season opener by thrashing New Hampshire, 13–7.
“If we start the Dartmouth game as aggressively and with as much energy as we started the game against Holy Cross with, we should be able to beat them,” attacker Devon Rhodes ’13 said.
Rhodes added that Dartmouth (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) has a very solid unit every year.
“Dartmouth is generally known for being extremely strong and fast,” she said. “Last year their midfielders and attackers were really scrappy and aggressive and their defensive unit was very physical.”
She added that the Big Green’s offense is versatile in that they have a handful of attackers and midfielders who can shoot the ball very well.
Last season, the Bulldogs took a close 9–8 loss to Dartmouth at Reese Stadium. While draw controls and turnovers were almost evenly matched, Dartmouth took more shots (21–18) but committed more fouls (22–14) than Yale. In the saves category, the Bulldogs fared better, recording seven over Dartmouth’s five. With 19 underclassmen on the team, Yale’s lineup is younger and faster compared to last season, whereas upperclassmen dominate the Big Green’s roster. Dartmouth had eight upperclassmen who played against New Hampshire in its season’s opener, while Yale fielded nine underclassmen against Holy Cross.
Rhodes said the team has added a few new plays into its offensive repertoire in order to catch Dartmouth off guard in case it scouted Yale’s last game.
“We have also been practicing our transition and the draw set this week,” she added. “Winning the draw is imperative to beat Dartmouth.”
Rhodes said the Yale coaches have been watching game film of Dartmouth all week in order to scout the tendencies of its key players, adding that the team now knows exactly what to expect from Dartmouth and is preparing accordingly.
Midfielder Ashley McCormick ’14 said the game will be determined by the Bulldogs’ ability to break through Dartmouth’s strong defense.
“We have some tricks up our sleeves offensively to keep Dartmouth on their toes, and they definitely will not be expecting what we have in store in terms of our speed of play,” she said in an email to the News. “Defensively, the key to the game will be communicating on and off-ball, staying on the cutters inside, and working as one cohesive unit, which will not be difficult since we are such a close-knit group.”
There are several players to watch on the Dartmouth roster. Senior midfielder Sarah Plumb is a key player for the Big Green. As a member of last year’s All-Ivy First Team on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Trophy — given annually to the best male and female lacrosse players in the country — she reeled off three goals for Dartmouth to help the team take down New Hampshire last week.
McCormick said Plumb is certainly a threatening midfielder, but she is confident that Yale’s team-oriented, aggressive defense will shut her down if the Bulldogs communicate and play cohesively.
In addition to Plumb, Big Green goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello and attacker Hana Bowers are expected to pose major threats to the Bulldogs.
Rhodes said she expects Saturday’s match to be very competitive.
“Dartmouth is a strong team, but they graduated a lot of talented seniors and are not the intimidating Dartmouth of old,” she said.
She added that if goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush ’12 and the defenders can continue their strong performances so far this season, and if the offense takes advantage of scoring opportunities, the Bulldogs should win.
Hanover’s weather conditions do not appear to be so welcoming, with an 80 percent chance of freezing rain forecast for Saturday.