After an up-and-down start to the 2016 season, the Yale women’s lacrosse team is currently riding a three-game win streak. This Saturday, the Bulldogs will lace up against nonconference foe Albany at Reese Stadium to try and continue their hot streak and remain unbeaten at home.
The Elis (5–4, 2–1 Ivy) clawed back to the positive side of 0.500 with back-to-back-to-back wins over spring break, two of which were against Ancient Eight competition. The three wins mark the first time this season that Yale has been able to string together multiple victories, and the team has a chance to make it four against Albany (4–3, 1–0 American East).
“Albany is a well-coached, tough, competitive team and we are looking forward to an exciting game on Saturday,” head coach Erica LaGrow said.
In order to win on Saturday, the Bulldogs will first and foremost have to try and slow down the scoring force that is Albany’s Dakotah Savitcheff, who is currently ranked fifth in the nation with 3.7 goals per game.
But one factor that bodes well for Yale is the recent play of goalie Sydney Marks ’18, who has been at the top of her game. After her last three games against George Washington, Brown and Columbia, in which she made seven, five and 15 saves respectively, Marks has vaulted into the top 25 in the nation in both saves per game and save percentage. Furthermore, over the course of those three games, she saved an astounding 57.4 percent of the shots sent her way — for reference, Kelsey Duryea of Duke, currently ranked first in the nation in save percentage, has a 56.3 percent save percentage this season.
Marks’ play also received recognition in a fan poll called the StringKing Player of the Week, conducted by Inside Lacrosse, in which the sophomore keeper was voted as the nation’s top player — among all positions — last week.
Also encouraging in Yale’s recent winning streak has been its play in close contests. Prior to the streak, the Bulldogs had lost two of their three tightest games, a two-goal defeat to Lehigh and a four-goal loss to Cornell in the team’s Ivy opener. But in the Elis’s latest nail-biting games they have managed to come out on top — edging Brown 6–5 and Columbia 10–9 in overtime — behind a sudden-death goal from midfielder Madeleine Gramigna ’18.
The thrilling victories have helped provide the team with a barometer moving forward for what needs to be done in order to emerge victorious in similar action throughout the remainder of the season.
“I think [the close wins] definitely helped to strengthen the team,” Marks said. “We know how hard we need to push ourselves in a close game in order to come out on top. Plus, I think we’ve only gained more confidence in the process as well.”
The Elis have an additional factor in their favor for this weekend’s tilt: The game will be contested at home, where the Bulldogs remain unbeaten.
Yale boasts a 4–0 record at Reese Stadium, compared to a 1–4 mark away from New Haven.
“We are fortunate to play at an outstanding facility and have some of the most loyal fans who attend our home games,” LaGrow said.
The action versus Albany, Yale’s second-to-last nonconference game of the season, will commence at 3 p.m. on Saturday.