After a 2–4 start to the 2016 season and a loss to Ivy League foe Cornell, the Yale women’s lacrosse team needed to produce a strong performance over spring break in order to jump-start its conference campaign. In three games over the two weeks, the Bulldogs did just that.
The Bulldogs (5–4, 2–1 Ivy) first crushed nonconference opponent George Washington (2–6, 0–0 Atlantic 10), 17–7, on March 12, then narrowly bested Brown (4–4, 0–3 Ivy) 6–5 a week later before finishing their perfect vacation with a 10–9 overtime win over Columbia (4–5, 0–3) last Saturday. In a game that was a nail-biter right from the start, Yale midfielder Madeleine Gramigna ’18 delivered the fatal blow against the Lions with a goal midway through the three-minute overtime period.
“It felt amazing, especially the Columbia game,” goalie Sydney Marks ’18 said. “That game was a battle for the entire 65 minutes we were on the field, and the feeling after [Gramigna] put the game-winning goal away was unreal.”
Columbia struck first Saturday in New Haven and, despite back-and-forth scoring, kept Yale from gaining a lead until just 8:43 remained in the game. That 8–7 Eli lead only lasted 54 seconds before Columbia drew equal. The Lions regained the advantage less than three minutes later.
It seemed then that the Lions had stolen the wind from the Bulldogs’ sails and would float to victory. But with 1:05 left to play, attacker Tess McEvoy ’17 knotted the game and forced overtime, allowing Gramigna to score the game winner just 1:38 into the extra time.
“[Scoring the game-winning goal] felt great because our team has been so determined to win this game since we lost to Columbia last year,” Gramigna said. “We worked extremely hard all week and throughout that game into overtime. It was an entire team effort. I was lucky to have been the one open in the middle, and I am so excited that we pulled out another Ivy League victory.”
Attacker Emily Granger ’18 contributed two goals in addition to a hat trick from McEvoy, and Marks racked up 15 saves. The Elis were a near perfect on clears, going 18–19, and maintained a close 11–10 edge in draw controls.
Columbia held a two-goal lead once, and Yale never held a lead of more than one.
“Our players did a tremendous job performing under pressure,” head coach Erica LaGrow said. “They work on those [close game] situations daily and prepare for moments like that. Each player did their job and stepped up at the right moment.”
Against Brown, another home game for Yale, the Elis gave up the game’s first goal as well but proceeded to go on a five-goal run, with three of the early scores coming from McEvoy.
The Bears then went on a run of their own, scoring three unanswered to bring the game to 5–4. McEvoy then once again emerged, pushing the lead back up to two. With 10:48 left to play Brown managed one last goal to bring the score within one, but the Bears were unable to find a tying effort for the remainder of play.
Along with McEvoy’s four goals, Nicole Daniggelis ’16 earned the Elis nine of their 10 draw controls, while the Bears secured just three during the game.
The Elis’ first game of the break, at George Washington, was a much more straightforward win. Yale’s offense proved too much for the Colonials to handle, highlighted by a four-goal run in the first half, and a series of seven unanswered goals in the second half.
Five players tallied multiple goals in the game: Midfielder Lauren Wackerle ’16 scored four, McEvoy, Granger and midfielder Lily Smith ’18 all had hat tricks and attacker Hope Hanley ’17 netted two of her own.
“These three consecutive wins have certainly given us momentum for [our next games against] Albany and Boston College,” Marks said. “Those games will definitely be challenging, but we’re coming into them with such fire and confidence.”
The Bulldogs compete at home again this Saturday with a contest against Albany. The game will begin at 3 p.m.