Sam Rubin

Seeking to capitalize on momentum generated from wins against UConn and Columbia, the Yale women’s lacrosse team instead suffered a pair of defeats this past week against two of the country’s toughest teams: No. 1 Boston College and Ancient Eight foe No. 10 Princeton.

The Bulldogs (6–8, 1–5 Ivy) came into Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts looking for their third straight victory after the team leveled its overall record to 6–6. The Eagles (17–0, 7–0 ACC) — who made it to the Final Four in 2017 and 2018 — defeated the Elis 13–9 last season, and the Elis hoped to avenge last year’s loss and pull off a massive upset. But despite an early Bulldogs lead, the top-ranked Eagles outlasted them to ultimately win by five goals. On Saturday, Yale went on to suffer a 19–4 loss against the Tigers (11–3, 5–1 Ivy) at Reese Stadium.

“We get really excited to play in big games like we had last week,” goalkeeper Amelia Drake ’21 said. “Boston College is an amazing program and Princeton is always competitive.”

The Bulldogs kicked off their match against Boston College in similar fashion — with an early lead against a formidable opponent — as the score remained tied at 3–3 after the first 17 minutes. Goals from midfielder Payton Vaughn ’22, midfielder Olivia Markert ’21 and attacker Addie Zinsner ’19 fueled the Elis’ upset bid in the early stages of the game.

However, a goal from Boston College’s Kenzie Kent goal at 13:05 launched a 6–0 run that would give the Eagles a 9–3 advantage heading into halftime. In the second half, Yale’s defense would put up a strong effort against the second-most prolific offense in the country to keep the Eagles below their season average of 17.67 goals per game. Drake posted six saves in the first half, while her counterpart Clare Boone ’22 made three more in the second.

Boston College maintained its focus in the second half after staking a 4–0 run, including a pair of goals from Kent. As the nation’s leader in assists with 55 coming into the matchup, her two helpers against the Elis marked only the fifth time this year that Kent failed to tally at least three assists in a game.

Despite falling behind, Yale finished the match on a high note. A goal from attacker and captain Izzy Nixon ’19 broke the Eagles’ streak and another point from midfielder Vanessa Yu ’20 brought the score to 15–5 with 10:04 to play. Yale then strung together five consecutive goals — three from Markert and two from Zinsner — in under five minutes to bring the final score to a much closer 15–10.

On Saturday, Yale returned to Reese Stadium for its sixth Ivy League match of the season against national power Princeton. With the 10th-ranked Tigers sitting atop the Ivy League standings, Yale knew it had a challenge on its hands despite its home-turf advantage. After losing to the Tigers 18–4 last season, Yale suffered another defeat but witnessed a breakout game from midfielder Sam Higgins ’21, who scored all four of the team’s goals.

As the top two shooting teams in the Ivy League, Yale and Princeton started the game hot on offense. After the Tigers scored the first eight goals of the game, Higgins broke their run at 12:36 during the first half and went on to score again less than four minutes later.

Yale’s defense fought hard amidst a powerful opposing offense with Drake recording five saves in the first half followed by two more from Boone in the second. Yet Princeton’s defense kept the Bulldogs almost completely out of the net — Yale’s only managed two goals from Higgins in the second half. Meanwhile, Nixon added a game-high seven draw controls, bringing her total to 149 for the season.

Yale finishes its season by taking on Dartmouth at home this weekend. A victory over the Big Green would enable the Bulldogs to match their 7–8 record from the previous season.

The Elis will compete against the Big Green at Reese Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Alex Reedy | alex.reedy@yale.edu