Coming off a 7–8 campaign in 2015, the Yale women’s lacrosse team fought back from a 4–0 hole early on but ultimately dropped a 9–7 road contest to Lehigh on Saturday in Erica LaGrow’s Yale head-coaching debut.
In a game marked by streaky scoring from both sides, the Bulldogs (0–1, 0–0 Ivy) could not overcome a late-game deficit despite outscoring the Mountain Hawks (1–1, 0–0 Patriot) in the second half.
“Lehigh was our first game, and there were definitely some first-game nerves,” defender Victoria Moore ’17 said. “We were able to come together as a team, focus on the controllables and get ourselves back in the game.”
Goals from five different Yale players kept the Bulldogs within striking distance, but were eventually insufficient to defeat Lehigh in Bethlehem. Attacker Tess McEvoy ’17, who ranked third on last year’s team with 16 goals, led the Yale offense with three goals and an assist, while goalie Sydney Marks ’18 made seven saves on 16 shots in her first career start in goal.
Lehigh opened the game with four consecutive goals in the first 10 minutes, including two from last year’s team points leader Allison LaBeau. During that time period, Yale did not muster a single shot attempt.
However, the Bulldogs answered with four goals of their own in the ensuing 10 minutes, three of which were scored or assisted on by McEvoy.
With the score tied at four-apiece, Lehigh rattled off another streak of five unanswered goals which spanned the end of the first half and beginning of the second.
“I think we came out a bit slow in each half but were able to pick it up on the back end and put up a good fight,” Marks said.
Yale attempted to complete its second comeback of the game, rattling off three consecutive goals in the final 12:08 of the game.
The Bulldogs could not overcome the deficit despite scoring the final three goals of the period. After midfielder Taryn Gallagher ’18, in her first collegiate start, scored an unassisted goal with 2:56 remaining, the Yale offense was unable to get off another shot attempt, sealing the 9–7 victory for Lehigh.
“Our defense and offense had some great runs, but need to be more consistent,” said midfielder Addie Zinsner ’19, who earned a starting spot in her Yale debut.
The Alexandria, Virginia native collected four ground balls and caused two turnovers on defense, while fellow newcomer and midfielder Amanda Bosland ’19 added a goal in her first college game.
Yale wound up matching Lehigh in shots, as both teams took 21 attempts at the net, and the Elis controlled 13 of 18 draws. However, the final result came down to the two streaks of unanswered Lehigh goals, which combined to take up more than half the game’s time, that kept Yale from opening its season in victorious fashion.
“That fast play and sense of urgency that we were able to achieve by the end of each half is something that everyone on the team agreed needs to be present for all 60 minutes of the game,” Marks said. “[It] is most certainly something we can do — we just need to structure our practices in a way that fosters a more competitive drive. That’s not to say there isn’t one already there, but we definitely need to strengthen it by playing everything out in every drill so that it truly translates into games.”
Lehigh controlled other statistical categories besides the final score, committing five fewer turnovers than Yale while also collecting 21 ground balls to Yale’s 13.
The Bulldogs will return to action on Wednesday night in their home opener, a 7 p.m. matchup against Quinnipiac. Yale will attempt to replicate last season’s outcome between the two teams, an 18-6 home victory over the Bobcats.