After winning both games last weekend, including a triumph over then-No. 19 Stanford, the Yale women’s lacrosse team will look to keep building on that momentum as they go on the road to face conference foe Columbia.
The Lions (6–5, 1–2 Ivy) enter the matchup with a similar record to the Bulldogs (7–5, 1–2), and the two teams sit tied for fifth in the conference. With the Elis’ remaining four games all coming against conference opponents, Saturday will present an opportunity for Yale to start off the last quarter of the season on a strong note.
“For the Stanford game, we really focused on us,” midfielder Hannah Logan ’20 said. “Instead of being so concerned about what Stanford’s game plan was, we focused on just going out there and having fun. This doubleheader sweep came at a perfect time because it gave us so much momentum to carry into our last four Ivy League games.”
But to keep that momentum going, the Elis will need a strong performance on Saturday afternoon against Columbia, an up-and-down squad that has struggled lately. The Bulldogs will look towards attacker Hope Hanley ’17 for continued success on offense. The Dover, Massachusetts, native received U.S. Lacrosse Player of the Week honors for her 16 points in three games last week, which included tying the Yale records in assists and points in the win over the Cardinal.
After starting the season 5–2, the Lions proceeded to drop three of their last four games. Although Columbia has been in a bit of a funk lately, its trio of defeats came by a total of five goals, including an overtime loss to Lehigh.
On offense, the Lions boasts two of the most dynamic players in all of the Ancient Eight: attacker Victoria Kalamaras and midfielder Taylor Quinn. Kalamaras is second in the conference with 32 assists, only trailing Hanley’s 36, and has also found the back of the net 15 times herself. Quinn’s 35 goals have her only one away from the lead for the most tallies in the conference. Against Hofstra in the team’s most recent affair, Quinn notched her fourth hat trick in the last five games and also recorded a season-high seven ground balls and four draw controls.
Columbia has five players with more than 20 points, slightly above Yale’s four, but the Lions also rely more heavily on their top scorers for offense than Yale does, giving the Elis a more balanced attack.
“[Columbia is] a good team and are not to be taken lightly whatsoever,” goaltender Sydney Marks ’18 said. “However, if we play the game I know we can play — as we demonstrated against Stanford — I’m confident that we’ll leave that field with a win.”
In last season’s contest, the Lions led for most of the game but eventually fell to the Bulldogs in overtime after attacker, and current captain Tess McEvoy ’17 evened the score with 65 seconds left in regulation. That game’s highlights included a game winning goal by midfielder Madeleine Gramigna ’18 as well as an impressive 15-save performance by goalie Marks at Reese Stadium. Yale is 4–1 versus Columbia since 2012.
Most of Columbia’s games have been close this season, with the Lions holding just a 0.36 scoring margin on their opponents, compared to Yale’s 2.92 margin, which stands at 27th in the NCAA. In their last three defeats, however, Columbia finished just two goals or less down from its opponents, so it will be critical for Yale to keep up the pressure for the full duration of the game.
“We are approaching this Saturday’s game against Columbia with the same intensity as we did last weekend,” Hanley said. “Our main goal is to play a full 60 minutes of Yale lacrosse, and continue playing as cohesive units on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field.”
The game starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday in New York.