Following two straight nonconference losses, the Yale women’s lacrosse team returns to Ivy League play this Saturday in an attempt to hand No. 11 Princeton its first league loss.
The Bulldogs (5–6, 2–1 Ivy) head to New Jersey coming off a loss to No. 17 Boston College, which dropped their record below 0.500 for their first time since March 12. The Tigers (7–2, 2–0), meanwhile, mark the toughest Ancient Eight opponent yet for the Elis, whose two conference wins in 2016 have come against teams that are winless in the Ivy League.
“[Princeton’s] a really great team and that should absolutely be respected, but I also think we’re good too,” goalie Sydney Marks ’18 said. “If we fight for a full 60 minutes like we did against BC, it’ll be a great game.”
The 15–11 loss to BC demonstrated resiliency on the part of the Elis. After slipping behind 6–1 early on, Yale did not let its opponent score more than two goals back-to-back and were narrowly outscored by the Eagles, 8–7, in the second half.
In the past, contests against top-ranked teams have led to success for Yale. After falling 13–7 to Stony Brook and March 8, the Bulldogs launched a three-game win streak that included their two conference wins. Captain and defender Kate Walker ’16 thinks the game against BC could have positive effects as well.
“I think it’s so beneficial for us to play these top-tier teams,” Walker said. “Playing BC and Stony Brook has elevated our game, since it’s a faster speed than many of the teams we go up against regularly. I feel that we’re better prepared to take on Princeton having competed with BC this week.”
Princeton has earned its No. 11 ranking with a slew of impressive wins this year. The Tigers trampled then-No. 4 Virginia 14–7 in their season opener and also defeated Ivy foes Harvard and Dartmouth, both of which received votes in the most recent Inside Lacrosse top 20 poll.
In order to win this weekend, the Elis will need to put up strong offensive numbers against one of the nation’s premier goalies. Ellie DeGarmo’s 54.8 save percentage ranks second in the nation, and her 10.11 saves per game are ninth-most in the NCAA.
“Ellie DeGarmo has had a tremendous year,” head coach Erica LaGrow said. “We will have to value our possessions and take smart shots.”
A strong offensive performance against DeGarmo will likely go through Eli attacker Tess McEvoy ’17, who has lit up the stat sheet all season. McEvoy has 30 goals this season — 17 more than attacker Hope Hanley ’17, who is second on the team — and in her last three games alone, McEvoy has netted 11 goals. In addition to her goal-scoring prowess, McEvoy can dish assists, as she leads the team in that category as well.
Yale’s contest against Princeton will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday.