After narrowly beating Dartmouth in its final home game of the season, the Yale women’s lacrosse team could not pull off a consecutive Ivy League win, falling 13–7 to conference powerhouse Penn on Saturday afternoon.
After keeping the contest close in the first half, the Bulldogs (7–7, 2–4 Ivy) started to slip behind the Quakers. The Elis could not overcome the seven-goal deficit and the team’s penultimate game ended in a Yale defeat.
“For years, Penn has consistently been at the top of the Ivy League,” attacker Hope Hanley ’17 said. “Their roster is filled with loads of talent, and they have many different players who are threats both offensively and defensively.”
The matchup reflected the defensive skill of both Penn and the Bulldogs, whose defenses are the top-ranked in the Ivy League. The first goal was not scored until more than eight minutes into the first half, when Quaker midfielder Lindsey Smith found the back of the net after a free-position attempt.
The Elis responded a mere 19 seconds later when midfielder Maggie Pizzo ’18 scored after being set up by fellow midfielder Cathryn Avallone ’15. The senior from New York brought Yale into the lead with another goal of her own two minutes later.
However, the last 15 minutes before the break belonged to Penn. They scored four goals to the Bulldogs’ one, pushing ahead of the Elis to establish a two-goal lead heading into halftime.
Despite having the lowest draw controls per game average in the conference, Yale had the upper hand in saves and draw controls in the first frame, leading the Quakers 5–1 and 7–2, respectively.
The return to play brought another goal each to the Bulldogs and the Quakers, keeping the game close through the first 10 minutes of the second half. Just before that point, Penn started to break away, entering into a six-minute, four-point rally that brought the Quaker lead up to 10–4.
The remainder of the game was characterized by back-and-forth scoring in which the Elis failed to score more than one consecutive goal, making it impossible to significantly decrease the six-goal deficit established earlier in the half.
“Unfortunately, Penn was able to get goal after goal without giving us a chance to return,” attacker Emily Granger ’18 said. “I do not think we were expecting Penn to take so many risky but successful shots on goal considering they usually value long possession and quality shots.”
Despite the 13–7 loss, Yale saw a strong showing from its roster. It was a great game for Avallone, who ended that day with three goals and an assist, bringing her total goals this season up to 15, the fourth-best on the team.
Goalie Erin Mullins ’15 also played well, making several saves that kept the Bulldogs within reach of the Quakers for the majority of the game.
“I thought our goalie, Erin Mullins, made some unbelievable saves,” Hanley said. “However, we still have a lot to work on both offensively and defensively.”
According to Hanley, offensively the team needs to focus on its patience with the ball and how it values each possession. On the other side of the ball, she thought that constant communication is key.
The Elis will be working on these areas as they prepare for their last game of the season against Ivy rival Harvard, who are coming off of a narrow loss to Cornell this weekend. Both teams are fighting for a chance at a spot in the Ivy League Tournament, with Harvard currently in fourth and Yale one game behind in fifth.
“We have this opportunity to make the Ivy League Tournament, and the team will be working every day this week so that we are able to accomplish our goal of finally making it,” defender Flannery Carney ’16 said. “Honestly, I’m just excited. This is why we play the game — for these moments.”
The contest will start at 1 p.m. in Cambridge.