Following its season-opening win over La Salle, the Yale women’s lacrosse team will look to carry the momentum forward to its next matchups and begin the season on a high.
Yale (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) will face Albany (0–1, 0–0 Atlantic East) on home turf this Saturday before taking a short journey north on Tuesday to face off against Hartford (0–2–0, 0–0–0). The Elis will be hungry for redemption against a Great Dane team who defeated them by a narrow margin of two points last season. The Hawks, on the other hand, should bring little in terms of surprises after falling by a score of 18–4 in their last meeting with the Blue and White
“I am pleased with our season opener versus La Salle,” head coach Erica Bamford said. “Our women worked incredibly hard in the off-season and preseason in preparation to compete this year. It was a complete team effort. Albany is a talented, well-coached team. We will primarily focus on fine-tuning and highlighting our strengths this week; especially, those that match up well for us against Albany.”
Albany is a strong program that has taken three of the last four matchups against Yale, including a 15–13 win last February. In that match up, Yale emerged with an early lead but was unable to maintain its momentum in the second period. Since the past three meetings have all been decided by just two goals, taking an early lead will be crucial to the Bulldogs coming out on top.
Captain Vanessa Yu ’20 expanded on the team’s mentality looking to the weekend.
“After our win against La Salle, our main goal is to keep fighting out on the field, especially as we play a strong team like Albany,” Yu said. “We’re looking forward to playing with even more confidence as our team grows stronger and more dynamic with each game.”
All eyes will be on top returning scorer Olivia Penoyer ’22, who amassed 56 points over the previous season, scoring 35 and assisting 21. The Manlius, New York, native bagged two in her last outing and will be looking to ramp up her returns in front of goal to help the Elis to an early lead this season.
The eight first years on the team have already shown immense potential and will be looking for more game time to stake their claim on important games ahead. Ana Dieroff ’23, in particular, delivered a fine performance against La Salle, scoring five-goals on her debut to match the tally of midfielder Olivia Markert ’21.
The Hartford program has had a slow start to the season, with blowout losses against Boston University and St. Bonaventure. Yale’s 14-point win last February is the only recorded match-up between the two teams. That game featured a standout performance from Penoyer, who scored five points. The Yale defense did not allow a single Hartford point until the 28:35 mark of the second half. Hartford scored three times in the final eight minutes to bring their point total up to four. This match further demonstrated how dominant the Bulldogs can be when they maintain their early level of play throughout the entirety of the game.
Albany and Hartford will be the Elis’ final opportunity to iron out their kinks before facing their first Ancient Eight opponent, Penn, the following weekend. Having not been on the winning side of the scoresheet against the Quakers in 12 matchups, Yale will be hoping to start Ivy League play by completing a historic upset.
Yale hosts Albany at Reese Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m. and plays away against Hartford next Tuesday.
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