Courtesy of Yale Athletics

The start of the 2016 season has been rocky for the Yale women’s lacrosse team, which currently sits at 2–4 on the year. The team looks to get the ball rolling Saturday at George Washington before jumping back into two Ivy League games that are projected to be tight battles.

The Bulldogs (2–4, 0–1 Ivy) are coming off a 13–7 loss to No. 8 Stony Brook that, despite the final score, the team saw as a positive result because Yale held a lead deep into the first half against one of the nation’s premier teams. The Elis will look to parlay that momentum into their game this weekend against a struggling George Washington program (1–4, 0–0 Atlantic 10) before attempting to win multiple games in a row for the first time this season in conference games against Brown (3–2, 0–0 Ivy) and Columbia (2–2, 0–1) during the following weekends.

“We fought hard for 60 minutes against a highly ranked Stony Brook team,” captain and defender Kate Walker ’16 said. ‘I think our performance [Tuesday] shows us what we’re capable of when we’re at our best.”

In three of the Elis’ last four games, they played defenses that are ranked in the top 10 in goals allowed per game, with Massachusetts fifth, Stony Brook sixth and Cornell eighth. The Bulldogs averaged 5.33 goals per game against those opponents, which collectively allow right around that mark at 6.00 goals per game.

George Washington, on the other hand, is 77th in the nation defensively with 12.40 goals conceded per game. The game should be a chance for Yale’s leading scorers, attackers Hope Hanley ’17 and Tess McEvoy ’17, to pad their stats more than they have been able to early on.

“I think [our attackers will be successful] if we simply play our game and the attack drives hard and shoots the way I know they can,” goalie Sydney Marks ’18 said. “We have a ton of incredible shooters on our team, believe me.”

With the Colonials’ only victory coming against the winless Mount Saint Mary, Yale appears to have the edge. Still, George Washington will have one advantage on its side in the contest that it has not had all year: Saturday’s game will be the Colonials’ first game of the year at their home in Washington, D.C., where they went 5–3 in 2015 despite a 1–7 road record. One of those five home wins included a 13–5 toppling of Yale in the Bulldogs’ first game of the year.

After the game, Yale will return to Ivy League play for two games, both of which will be on Saturdays during spring break. The Elis host Brown on March 19 and Columbia on March 26.

“[Against George Washington] we’re going to try and get some positive energy and momentum for when we get back to Ivy League play,” defender Victoria Moore ’17 said. “We also want to get back to how we played in the first half of the Stony Brook game and play well on both ends of the field for the full 60 minutes.”

Both of the Elis’ Ancient Eight games should be competitive. Yale finished sixth in the league last season with a 2–5 Ivy record, and Brown and Columbia tied for last with 1–6 marks.

This season, Brown, the first of the Bulldogs’ two opponents, has three wins, one more than Yale. But all three of the teams the Bears defeated had losing records, and none were Ivy League opponents. Columbia, meanwhile, has historically remained at the bottom of the Ivy League standings, having won only three Ancient Eight games in the past decade.

“I really do think they’re winnable games,” Marks said. “If we play the way we played against Stony Brook, they most certainly will be.”

Yale’s game against George Washington will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Washington, D.C.