On a two-game winning streak, the Yale women’s lacrosse team returns to Ivy play this Saturday with a chance to declaw the Princeton Tigers.
For the remainder of the season, the Elis (6–5, 1–2 Ivy) will only face Ancient Eight opponents. The remaining four competitions will determine which team gets to inch forward to the final Ivy League tournament in May. The Elis will face-off against Princeton (7–2, 2–0 Ivy), currently ranked at number 15 in the nation.
“Princeton is always a tough team to go up against, and they’ve been especially strong this year,” said defender Kate Walker ’16.
The Tigers were on a three game winning streak until falling to Delaware in a 10–12 upset last Saturday.
But in conference play, Princeton has cruised through games against Harvard and Dartmouth to pull out two wins from their Ivy foes. Meanwhile, Yale recently won two non-conference games, one last Saturday against San Diego State.
“We played well as a team and were able to come up with a big win despite terrible weather conditions,” midfielder Kelly Anne Sherlock ’16 said last Sunday. “We are excited to use that drive and positive energy to come out strong against Princeton next week.”
Leading the Tigers in points are midfielder Olivia Hompe with 25 goals and nine assists and midfielder Erin Slifer with 20 goals and 12 assists. The Princeton team as a whole has averaged 26.4 shots per game, creating a 44.5 percent shot average within the past 11 games.
On the defensive end, Princeton’s starting goalie Ellie DeGarmo has saved 65 out 74 shots, giving her a save percentage of 46.8 percent, which places her three rankings below Yale goalie Erin Mullins ’15 at fifth in the league for save percentage.
Though Princeton looks impressive on paper, the Elis are still going into the game focused on themselves.
“What we’ve learned this season is that our team excels when we focus on ourselves, not on our opponents,” said Walker.
Attacker Tess McEvoy ’17 explains that throughout the season the Yale team has been working on improving its communication and playing as one unit in both the offensive and defensive ends of its game.
Meanwhile, Walker said the team can prepare for the game against Princeton by reflecting on the hard loss against Columbia a couple of weeks ago. Walker believes that the loss helped reveal the small changes that needed to be made in practices in order for the team to evolve into more scrappier and tenacious players.
“To counter against Princeton, in practice we have been developing the fluidity of our transition game, solidifying our fundamentals and simply focusing on smart and intuitive play throughout the field,” defender Maggie Moriarty ’16 said.
The Bulldogs’ progressing game performance is evidently shown in the overall league statistics. Defender Victoria Moore ’17 is ranked at second place while midfielder Christina Doherty ’15 and defender Walker are both tied for third for number of caused turnovers per game.
Offensively, attacker Nicole Daniggelis ’16 is currently ranked at fourth for draw controls and attacker Erin Magnuson ’15 is ranked at seventh in the league for number of assists per game.
According to Moriarty, she thinks the Bulldogs have a strong foundation and the right tools in order to overcome Princeton this weekend — that it comes down to which team has more desire to win.
“We have a game plan for our play that we intend to execute, and that’s what we’re working on perfecting this week,” Walker said. “Saturday will be a battle, but it’s a battle we intend to win.”
The Bulldogs will face off against Princeton at noon on Saturday.