The Yale women’s lacrosse team fell 13–3 in Amherst against an impressive Massachusetts squad this past Saturday, but during the losing effort attacker Nicole Daniggelis ’16 set the Ivy League record for draw controls.
After 10 minutes of play, Yale (1–2, 0–0 Ivy) stayed even at 2–2 with UMass (4–0, 0–0 Atlantic 10), but in the ensuing minutes, the floodgates opened and the Minutewomen poured on a relentless attack, racking up 11 more goals before the final whistle, including a stretch of nine unanswered scores. Captain and defender Kate Walker ’16 attributed the loss to solvable problems.
“We definitely played tight and a little nervous,” Walker said. “Fortunately, the errors we made this past weekend are fixable and I know that the more time we spend out on the field together, in games and in practices, the more infrequent those mistakes will be.”
The game started fast, as UMass — which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, and currently holds the fifth-ranked defense in the nation — struck twice within the game’s first six minutes to take an early 2–0 advantage. But the momentum momentarily halted, as attacker Hope Hanley ’17 dished out assists to midfielder Addie Zinsner ’19 and attacker Kiwi Comizio ’18 to knot the game at two.
But Yale’s resistance to the potent UMass offense faltered immediately after tying the game at two. The Minutewomen exploded for seven straight goals before the half ended, including three from attacker Nicole Troost.
“We were happy with the way the team played in the first 10 minutes of the game,” Yale head coach Erica LaGrow said. “We came out strong and competed hard. After that we hit a lull and a strong UMass team took advantage. Credit to UMass for a great performance.”
The Elis fared far better in the second half, holding Massachusetts to four goals over the half hour of action, while tallying one of their own from midfielder Lily Smith ’18. After the Bulldogs were doubled in shots, 16–8, in the first half, they outshot the Minutewomen 10–9 in the final 30 minutes.
LaGrow believed that boost in performance was the result of her assistant coaches’ halftime game plans.
“In the second half we were able to generate more shots from caused turnovers in the ride, stops on defense and though the offense sets,” LaGrow said. “Coaches Alyssa Murray and Sloane Serpe put together multiple game plans for the offensive and defensive units and made adjustments at halftime.”
The peripheral stats of the game suggest that the contest could have been closer than the final score indicated. In the end, the Minutewomen only took seven more shots than Yale did, though they converted on 52 percent of those attempts, as opposed to the Elis’ paltry 17 percent efficiency. Elsewhere, UMass secured 17 ground balls, only three more than Yale, and committed just three fewer turnovers than the Bulldogs.
In draw controls, Yale won nine of 17, with Daniggelis winning six of those to break the all-time Ivy League record. Daniggelis now sits at 230 draw controls in her career, one more than the previous record holder, Grace Healy of Brown.
Ultimately, the final score came down to the Minutewomen’s ability to translate opportunity into points on the board. As a result, LaGrow said shooting will be the “emphasis going into the games this week” in practice.
“Despite the loss, I’m thrilled that we were able to play such a competitive team so early in the season — it’s excellent preparation for our Ivy League competition,” Walker said. “UMass exposed our weaknesses early, so now we have time to improve before meeting in-conference opponents later this season.”
The Bulldogs play Marist next, at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m.