After a pair of successful non-conference games that established the Yale women’s lacrosse team as contenders, the Bulldogs suffered a narrow 7–5 defeat against Princeton in their return to league play.
Beginning a series of four consecutive Ivy League games, the Elis (6–6, 1–3 Ivy) took on No. 16 Princeton (8–2, 3–0), losing after failing to score more than one goal in the second half. Despite a strong start against the Tigers, Yale could not pull through for the win, and the Bulldogs dropped back down to a tied record.
“The game was an amazing effort on both ends of the field, but unfortunately we weren’t able to pull through with a win,” midfielder Maggie Pizzo ’18 said. “We let Princeton get an early lead in the beginning of the first half, but we finally started to pick up momentum. The second half was a defensive battle. We had a few opportunities, but we weren’t able to make a complete comeback.”
Princeton used the first five minutes of the game to establish a two-point lead over the Elis, including a goal by Tiger midfielder Anna Doherty, sister of Bulldog midfielder Christina Doherty ’15. Yale found the back of the net for the first time almost eight minutes into the game with a goal from captain and attacker Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 off of an assist from attacker Hope Hanley ’17. Fleishhacker leads the team in goals with 18 and points with a career high of 29.
However, the Bulldogs struggled to keep Princeton from pulling ahead. The Tigers scored another pair of goals to put them ahead 4–1, although an unassisted goal from Doherty at 15:36 brought the Elis back within two.
But Princeton responded quickly with yet another pair of goals — with 14 minutes remaining in the first half, the Tigers had broken away with a 6–2 lead.
The Bulldogs managed to hold off Princeton for the rest of the half, and a second goal from Doherty started to chip away at the four-point Tiger lead. Another goal by Pizzo with 5:32 left in the half brought the Elis back into the game, with a score of 6–4.
“We came up with a lot of crucial ground balls and draw controls, but the difference in the game was the beginning,” attacker Emily Granger ’18 said. “We had to fight from behind the entire game, which was a style of play much different than our last two games. I think this early deficit made it hard for us to fully come back into the game.”
The second half of the game was an offensive standstill for both teams as each suffered from a lack of scoring. The first goal after the break did not occur until almost eight minutes into the game when midfielder Cathryn Avallone ’15 found the back of the net to put Yale just one goal behind Princeton.
Neither team managed to score in the following 20 minutes, and Princeton sealed the game with a final goal in the last minutes to bring the final score to 7–5.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs still feel positive about their play. The Elis ended with more shots, ground balls and draw controls than the Tigers and limited Princeton to its smallest number of goals scored in a single game this season.
Yale was also playing without two of its star starters, who have been sidelined with injuries: attacker and draw control leader Nicole Daniggelis ’16 and attacker Erin Magnuson ’15, who is second in points for the Bulldogs.
“Our game against Princeton was definitely a confidence booster for us,” defenseman Victoria Moore ’17 said. “We played really well as a whole and as a unit we really came together and frustrated the Princeton offense. We proved to the league that we can play with one of the best teams and we aren’t to be taken lightly.”
Princeton remains in first place in the Ivy League, while the Elis sit in fifth.