The Yale women’s lacrosse team heads into the weekend looking for a second consecutive win against Dartmouth in order to embark upon a new winning streak.
From 2009 to 2013, the Big Green (1–9, 1–3 Ivy) never relinquished its control over the Bulldogs (6–6, 1–3), and it won in each season meeting. But last year, in a decisive 12–5 victory, the Elis reversed that losing streak. Now, Yale is back and ready to fight for another win this Saturday.
Despite the Bulldogs’ narrow 7–5 loss to Ivy heavyweight Princeton last week, they maintain pride in the fact that it was a hard-fought game.
“I think the whole team is very proud of the way we fought against Princeton last weekend,” defender Flannery Carney ’16 said. “We played with a lot of heart and hustle, especially evident in our 10–4 win in the draw control.”
Yale’s defensive wall only let seven goals from the Tigers slip into the net. Last weekend’s competition against the Elis was the lowest scoring game for Princeton, currently No. 20 in national polls, so far this season.
Within the first half of the game, Princeton scored six goals against the Bulldogs. But after halftime, Yale clamped down and only allowed one goal on eight total shots.
“As the defensive coordinator this year, I believe we have really committed to a ‘help’ defense with constant communication,” assistant coach Andrea Cofrin said in an email. “It’s an amazing atmosphere to be a part of; they know each other’s tendencies, and each player is willing to take a chance [to disrupt the opponent’s offense] knowing they have seven teammates who have their back.”
Throughout the season, the Bulldogs have stood out in several statistical categories.
Of the eight Ancient Eight teams, Yale is second in the league in ground ball pickups and caused turnovers per game. The team is also in second place in goals against average; only 95 goals have been scored against the Elis thus far for an average of 7.92 goals per contest.
“Our communication skills have definitely improved both on and off the field,” attacker Hope Hanley ’17 said. “Nowadays, we play much more as a team and have significantly decreased our number of turnovers.”
Midfielder Christina Doherty ’15 is listed as third for ground ball pickups in the conference. Defenders Victoria Moore ’17 and Kate Walker ’16, a staff reporter for YTV, are second and fourth in the league, respectively, for forced turnovers. Goalkeeper Erin Mullins ’15 maintains her high save percentage at 49.7 percent, placing her at third in the league.
The Bulldogs’ defense has been a staple for the team this season, as they have kept scores low against opponents of different leagues. However, the Elis have also seen development in their offensive game.
“Our offensive unit has grown so much this past season,” captain and attacker Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 said. “We’ve had our highs, and we’ve sure had our lows. Our focus has been on piecing everything together so we can play 60 minutes of consistent and great Yale lacrosse, and I think we’ve finally reached that happy medium.”
Dartmouth and Yale are both tied at fifth-place in the Ivy League standings along with Columbia. But despite their low standing, the Elis have a number of opportunities to move up in the ranks.
The Ivy co-leaders, Penn and Princeton, have yet to play each other. Similarly, Cornell and Harvard are tied for third place and will clash later in April.
“It’s crazy to think that we only have three games left,” Hanley said. “This season has flown by, and I think that it is really important that we play to our fullest potential throughout the remainder of the season.”
Yale will play against Dartmouth at Reese Stadium tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.