The Yale women’s lacrosse team plays its final away match on Saturday, with the outcome potentially determining whether the Bulldogs advance to postseason play.
The Elis (7–6, 2–3 Ivy) have struggled in their recent conference matches, falling in three straight conference games after a promising start to the season that included two upset victories over ranked opponents. With just two games remaining in the campaign, the Bulldogs will face a pair of steep challenges in the form of the Ivy League’s highest-ranked teams. The Elis will travel to Hanover to play No. 16 Dartmouth (9–3, 4–1) in a Saturday matinee and end their season at home against No. 10 Penn next weekend.
Despite falling to No. 20 Princeton last week, the Bulldogs maintained their three-way tie for fourth place in the league with Columbia and Cornell. This weekend, the Lions and the Big Red take on Brown and Princeton, respectively.
“People may have a perception that we are down and out, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” attacker Kayla Duperrouzel ’21 said. “We are going to work harder than ever before for these next two games and leave absolutely everything out there. We have such an amazing class, and we owe it to them to give it our all to make the Ivy Tournament, which is still very possible.”
The Elis have struggled to break out of a midseason skid after starting the season 6–1. The Bulldogs’ final opponent of the season, Penn, owns the conference’s lone undefeated season, though the Quakers have Harvard, Princeton and Yale remaining on their schedule. Dartmouth follows close behind, with a lone loss to the Quakers, while defending co-champion Princeton rounds out the league’s top three. At the bottom of the ladder, Brown and Harvard each sport 1–4 records, placing them out of realistic contention for the Ivy League Tournament.
Yale fell to Princeton last week 18–4 in the toughest loss suffered all season. The outcome came despite a season-high 17 saves from goalie Sydney Marks ’18. Although the Bulldogs produced strong play on both ends of the field, they struggled in transition under pressure from the Tigers.
Dartmouth, meanwhile, has proven itself to be one of the league’s power players this season. A loss to UMass opened the Big Green’s spring, but the team followed it up with a seven-game winning streak that included a 20–10 trouncing of Columbia to open conference play and a closer but still convincing 15–12 victory over Princeton.
Their streak was snapped by a pair of losses to Penn — who have rolled through their Ivy opponents and captured a national ranking entering the end of the season — and a still-undefeated No. 2 Boston College. Dartmouth was close in both matches, ultimately falling 13–11 and 13–10 to the Quakers and Eagles, respectively.
After falling to its schedule’s strongest squads, the Big Green will enter Saturday’s match with confidence from two resounding victories — it left both Cornell and Vermont in the dust with 19–10 and 16–5 wins. The Elis fell to Cornell earlier in the season after they allowed the Big Red to open the match 6–0. Although they played a much stronger second period, it was not enough to overcome their early deficit.
Dartmouth has produced high-offensive output all season, scoring just over 15 goals per game on average, while holding opponents to an average of 10.8. This is especially significant given that Yale has struggled to generate enough offensive output to match its strong defensive performances, totaling just 22 goals across their last three Ivy matches.
“The expectations are to just play our game, be aggressive and simply enjoy being out there, as well as enjoy having the opportunity to play such a strong team,” Marks said. “Dartmouth is very, very good this year, but if we come out the way I know we still can, we can make it a very uncomfortable game for them and hopefully battle out a win. … I want myself and the team to walk off of the field these next two games feeling really good about how we played and finished out the season.”
The Bulldogs play the Big Green at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org