The Yale women’s lacrosse team lost its slim chance at making the Ivy League tournament after falling to No. 7 Princeton on Saturday.
Yale’s (7–7, 1–4 Ivy) loss against Columbia last weekend put the Elis in a must-win situation going into the matchup with league-leading Princeton (10–2, 4–0), since a sweep of their remaining conference games was their only shot of sneaking into the postseason. However, the Bulldogs were unable to contain the Tigers’ high-powered offense and, on the other side of the field, mustered only nine goals against one of the best goalies in the NCAA, tallying less than 10 for only the second time this season.
“The loss stings, but I think we had some really good moments out on the field and were able to make it a battle for Princeton for a lot of the game,” goalie Sydney Marks ’18 said. “I’m especially proud of how we played in the second half.”
Yale got on the scoresheet first, with midfielder Madeleine Gramigna ’18 finding the back of the net just 37 seconds into the game. The first 10 minutes of play saw the teams keep pace with one other, and with 20:21 left in the half, the Bulldogs led 4–3 thanks to a goal from attacker Hope Hanley ’17. After that tally, however, the Tigers’ 12th-ranked offense roared to life and went on a 9–1 tear, which included scoring five unanswered goals to close out the half.
The Bulldogs, who headed to the locker-room at halftime down 12–5, opened up the second half determined to push for a comeback. After a scoreless 10 minutes to start the frame, the Elis scored three goals to cut the deficit almost in half and held back Princeton’s offense for the entire third quarter.
However, just as there seemed to be hope of an Eli comeback, the Tigers went on another run, scoring four unanswered goals to put Yale down by eight with under two minutes left to play. Attacker Maggie Pizzo ’18 got the Bulldogs one last goal before the clock ran out, but Princeton had the last word, underlining a dominant victory with one final tally with 24 seconds to play.
For both the Elis and the Tigers, their key players came through with impressive performances. Captain Tess McEvoy ’17 and Gramigna both had hat tricks, while Hanley finished the game with a goal and three points. Her second assist, which came on McEvoy’s goal in the middle of Princeton’s 9–1 run in the first half, set a new Yale record for single-season assists. With two games left to play, Hanley has 44 assists this season, one more than the record set by Laura Karmatz ’96 in 1994.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Princeton’s strongest players also had dominant performances. The team’s leading scorer, Olivia Hompe, who is third in the country in goals per game, had five tallies and six points. Goalie Ellie DeGarmo, who leads the NCAA in saves per game, saved nine of the 18 shots the Bulldogs had against her, proving why Princeton has the best save percentage in the nation and an 18th-ranked defense that will be tested in a top-of-the-table clash against Ivy League leader No. 8 Cornell next Saturday in Ithaca.
The defeat at the paws of the Tigers marked the fourth time this season the Elis fell to a team currently ranked in the IWLCA Coaches Poll, which includes the top 20 teams in the nation. Playing in the Ancient Eight does the Bulldogs no favors, as three of the four teams in the upper half of conference standings are ranked in the top 10 overall.
“I think these next two weeks we are trying to finish out as strong as possible,” McEvoy said. “[Princeton] was a tough loss in the Ivy League, but I think it’s going to give us a lot of motivation to work as hard as we can these next two weeks.”
Next up for Yale are contests against Dartmouth and No. 9 Penn to close out the regular season. The Bulldogs will first face the Big Green, who are 0–5 in conference play, next weekend in their final home game of the year and last career match at Reese Stadium for distinguished seniors such as McEvoy and Hanley.
Following the senior day festivities, the squad will head to Philadelphia to take on the fourth-place Quakers. The Bulldogs have not beaten Penn since 2008 and will be looking to end the eight-year skid in their final game of the season.
“The team is looking forward to playing another Ivy game this upcoming weekend,” midfielder Emily Granger ’18 said. “We have a lot of adjustments to make this week but are confident we can convert those adjustments into a win for our seniors on Senior Day.”
The four tournament berths are currently set to go to undefeated Cornell and Princeton in addition to Harvard, while Penn and Columbia fight for the final spot.
Yale faces off against Dartmouth on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Reese Stadium.