Steve Musco

When a team graduates half of its starting players, it generally doesn’t open the next season with four straight wins, but the Yale women’s lacrosse team has tackled the challenge with the help of a particularly promising rookie class.

The Bulldogs’ roster includes 11 rookies, many of whom have already stepped up for the Elis in their early victorious stretch; one or more members of the Class of 2021 have scored in each of the Elis’ first four matches, and attacker Kayla Duperrouzel ’21 leads her team in both goals and points, with 12 and 15 respectively. Together with the contributions of the team’s 23 returning players, this burst of young offensive power has given Yale its best start since 2014.

“The [rookie] class as a whole has been such a great addition to our team and has fit in seamlessly thus far,” attacker Kiwi Comizio ’18 said. “They have really bought into the culture we have on our team and contributed to it as well, so I think we have all really enjoyed each of them being with us.”

Duperrouzel came to Yale with an impressive list of high school accolades and immediately established herself as a threat on the Bulldogs’ attack. A native of Fairfax Station, Virginia, she played for both her high school, Bishop Ireton, and Capital Lacrosse Club. At Bishop Ireton, which was ranked in the national top-10 in each of her four years there, Duperrouzel racked up a cadre of honors and selections, including U.S. Lacrosse first-team All-American and four years of All-State selections.

In the Bulldogs’ season opener against then-No. 24 Albany, Duperrouzel started alongside the two returning members of the Eli frontline, Izzy Nixon ’19 and Kiwi Comizio ’18, and played a crucial role in the two-goal upset, giving the Elis their early lead and a pair of quick goals.

The game remained hard-fought, and with just over two minutes remaining on the clock and Yale ahead by a single goal, Duperrouzel stepped up to secure the upset. The attacker took a pass from Nixon and whipped a shot past the goalie to complete her hat trick and set the Bulldogs on the first step to success this year.

The next Wednesday, Duperrouzel was one of just four players to score for the Elis in their closer-than-anticipated victory over local rival Quinnipiac. She contributed a pair of tallies and two assists to midfielder Barrett Carlson ’20.

In those first two matchups, the first year established herself as an important cog in the Eli attack, but her display in the team’s second upset of a nationally ranked opponent surpassed all expectations.

In the 14–9 victory against then-No. 19 UMass, the rookie phenom netted five goals, making her the only Bulldog to score more than two. Her first four goals came in a consecutive barrage that started after she broke a 1–1 impasse. Her outburst began a spell that saw the Bulldogs score eight times without interruption from their opponents.

Duperrouzel has also gained outside recognition for her play this season. She was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for her performance against the Minutewomen. Inside Lacrosse, which named Duperrouzel to its Standout Players List while she was in high school, matched the Ivy League’s honors, making her its Inside Lacrosse Rookie of the Week per a fan vote conducted on Twitter. She narrowly edged out Jamie Ortega of No. 6 UNC and two other contenders from ranked teams.

“I have set a standard for myself with these first few games,” Duperrouzel said. “But I definitely need to continue to raise it with every game. Watching film is really helpful to see all the ways I can improve, whether that be getting a shot off sooner or off-ball things like better angles on picks or clearing space.”

Against Harvard, in the Elis’ first victory over their ancient rivals in seven years, Duperrouzel contributed another pair of goals, while her classmate, midfielder Sam Higgins ’21, stepped up with a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs in scoring for the day.

Aside from Nixon’s dominance on the draw, which ranks her first in the nation in draw controls per game, Duperrouzel leads Yale in almost every other major category. No Yale player has cracked into the top-50 in points, goals or assists per game, but Duperrouzel has found her way onto the national leaderboards, ranking 12th in the nation in free position goals per game.

Duperrouzel is a first year in Saybrook College.

Angela Xiao | angela.xiao@yale.edu