The Yale women’s lacrosse team’s path to the Ivy League playoffs became much more challenging following its 15–14 loss to Columbia on Saturday. In a battle of two teams with nearly identical records, it was the Lions who did just enough to come out on top, winning by a single goal and earning a critical conference victory over the Bulldogs.
Coming off a thrilling doubleheader sweep of Sacred Heart and then- No. 19 Stanford last weekend, Yale (7–6, 1–3 Ivy) could not translate that momentum into a victory as Columbia (7–5, 2–2) eclipsed the team in the conference standings race. Despite six goals by midfielder Madeleine Gramigna ’18, the Bulldogs failed to capture a lead at any point in the contest and found themselves chasing the Lions all afternoon on the Upper West Side.
“[The Columbia game] was an unfortunate loss,” attacker Kiwi Comizio ’18 said. “But I think it will be good motivation moving forward for us to focus on fixing the mistakes we made before we head into these last three conference games that will be just as tough.”
The game was characterized by the Elis constantly seeking to even the game. The Light Blue jumped out to an early 3–1 advantage less than five minutes into the game before unassisted goals by attackers Hope Hanley ’17 and captain Tess McEvoy ’17, who have consistently led the team in points and goals this season, eventually evened the score at 4–4.
Yale similarly eradicated leads of 5–4 and 6–5 in the first half but could never sneak a shot past goalkeeper Kelsey Gedin, who made 13 saves in the contest, to edge ahead when the squads were deadlocked. A four-goal performance by midfielder Taylor Quinn, Columbia’s leading scorer, sent the Lions into halftime with a 7–6 lead.
The second half continued in similar fashion to the first, with Columbia scoring first and Yale being forced to respond. In the third quarter, the two teams exchanged goals in pairs, running the score up to 11–10 but leaving the Lions still holding onto their one-goal lead. The Elis finally got the equalizer after Comizio scored to make it 12–12 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. After the teams quickly traded goals once again, Columbia found the back of the net twice, taking a 15–13 lead with 6:21 left to play.
Yale remained in it until the last moment, coming back to within one on Gramigna’s fourth goal of the game and getting a chance to tie it up one last time in the waning seconds of the quarter, but ultimately the Bulldogs’ comeback came up short.
“Even though we struggled throughout the game to capitalize, there were some bright spots,” defender Marisa Cresham ’17 said. “Madeleine played a huge part in keeping us in the game and stepped up both offensively and defensively.”
Draw controls were a major factor in handicapping the Elis’ chances of pulling ahead. Columbia had more draw controls in both halves, though particularly in the second, and Yale finished the game having won only 12 of 31 draws. The contest marked only the third time this season that Yale has been on the losing side of the draw control battle, having previously done so in its 13–4 win over Niagara and its 19–12 loss against Boston College.
The Bulldogs also ran into trouble because of their lack of discipline. After taking 44 fouls in the game against Stanford last weekend — but still winning in convincing fashion — the Elis were less lucky against the Lions. Yale took 39 fouls compared to Columbia’s 25, and the eventual go-ahead goal came as a result of a free position chance.
Yale currently sits at sixth in the Ivy League, one win Penn and Columbia. Cornell and Princeton remain undefeated and share the top spot in the conference.
With the conquest, Columbia secured its first season in program history with multiple Ivy League wins and matched its best win total since 2009.