The Yale women’s lacrosse team needed just 37 seconds to score the first of what would amount to 26 goals in Wednesday’s high-scoring affair between the Bulldogs and No. 11 Boston College at Reese Stadium.
But the next six goals all belonged to the Eagles (7–5, 1–4 ACC), and the Bulldogs (5–6, 2–1 Ivy) ultimately could not pull off what would have been a significant upset victory, winding up on the wrong end of a 15–11 scoreline.
“Boston College’s scoring stream stemmed from them capitalizing on our mistakes,” attacker Emily Granger ’18 said. “Once we started valuing possession and protecting the ball, we were able to turn the game around.”
Throughout the first half, the Eagles paid particularly close attention to Yale’s leading scorer, attacker Tess McEvoy ’17, often double-teaming her to prevent her signature drive to the goal from the left side.
The tough defense limited McEvoy in the first half to just one goal, Yale’s second of the game, which came nearly 20 minutes into the contest. McEvoy turned things around in the second half to finish with four goals and two assists, completing her ninth hat trick of the season.
“Going into the game we knew [Boston College] played high pressure all over the field,” McEvoy said. “As a result, we really focused on all our attackers, driving to draw them in and then looking for the open girl after they doubled.”
It was that strategy that enabled midfielder Taryn Gallagher ’18 to score the opening goal at 29:23, off an assist from McEvoy. But for the remainder of the period, the Bulldogs had trouble repeating this draw-and-dump scenario while Boston College reeled off five unanswered goals, prompting Yale head coach Erica LaGrow to call a timeout with 13:43 remaining in the half.
While the timeout appeared to come in response to the Eagles’ run, LaGrow explained that the team typically takes timeouts around the 15-minute mark to refocus.
“We reminded the team of the game plan and praised their effort,” LaGrow said about what she told her team during the break.
Immediately following the timeout, Boston College capped off its 6–0 run with a goal on a free position shot, a consistent theme of the game. The Eagles went 4–6 on free positions, while Yale was 1–1.
After a scoring drought of more than 18 minutes, the Bulldogs finally responded with a goal from McEvoy off a loose ball in front of the cage, cutting the deficit to four.
This goal, in conjunction with a tighter defensive performance from Yale, which held the Eagles to just one goal in the final 13:22 of the half, kept Yale within striking distance. The Bulldogs scored twice more before the halftime whistle, trailing 7–4 at the intermission.
Improved offensive play, sparked by an energized Granger who came off the bench, allowed the Bulldogs to pick up speed the second half. Despite giving up two early goals in the first five minutes of the frame, the Elis won the first six draw controls after play resumed. They wound up winning nine of 16 in the half, led by center Nicole Daniggelis ’16.
“[Daniggelis] takes ownership for winning the draws, and our players fought hard when the ball hit the ground,” LaGrow said.
The play of Daniggelis, who is the all-time Ivy League leader in draw controls won, enabled Yale to dictate the pace of play more often in the second half.
The second half also brought a strategic change in the Boston College defense. Rather than continuing to play man-to-man, the Eagles began to play backer zone defense, in which they assigned an extra player to track the ball and leave the attacker farthest from the play open. Yale quickly adapted to the tactical shift, passing the ball quickly around the 12-meter arc until it could find the open Bulldog.
“In the second half they threw a high-pressure defense on us in hopes of creating turnovers, but we were able to remain composed, keep the ball moving and find the open girl on the back side,” Granger said.
Taking advantage of these openings led to two important Yale goals, one from McEvoy and another from attacker Hope Hanley ’17, while attacker Kiwi Comizio ’18 added a scrappy goal off a ground ball in front of the cage. The three goals pulled Yale within 10–7 and hinted at a potential comeback.
However, the Eagles answered yet again as attacker Tess Chandler registered two goals of her own within a two-minute stretch, rounding out her hat trick for the game.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to three once more with back-to-back goals from McEvoy, the second coming with just 4:22 remaining on the clock. But just 20 seconds later, a yellow card was called on Comizio, giving the Eagles a critical man-up advantage.
Boston College attacker Kate Weeks took advantage with a goal at the 2:30 mark, her third of the game, which sealed the scoring and Yale’s chances. In the final two minutes, Yale attempted to force a turnover by pressuring the Eagles with double-teams beyond the 12-meter arc but could not translate that defense into scoring opportunities.
While the game goes down as a loss for the Bulldogs, the four-goal margin against such a highly ranked opponent provided further proof of the team’s potential.
“It just further proves, as demonstrated in the Stony Brook game as well, that we have the intensity and drive necessary to hang with top-15 teams,” said goalie Sydney Marks ’18, who made eight saves in the defeat.
The Bulldogs will return to Ivy play for the remainder of the season. Their next game comes on Saturday versus Princeton on the road.