Biting winds and frigid weather provided a fitting backdrop at Reese Stadium on Saturday as the Yale women’s lacrosse team was iced by No. 13 Penn in its Ivy opener.

The Bulldogs (2–2, 0–1 Ivy) began their Ivy League campaign over the weekend with a 5–11 loss to the Quakers (4–0, 1–0 Ivy). Four Bulldogs notched their names on the scoresheet against the 13-time Ivy League champions, but the Elis found themselves playing catch-up through a majority of the 60 minutes. Despite holding Penn below their average goals per game and keeping the game tight through the first half, the Elis struggled to find the back of the net, converting only five of 32 attempts. The game contained some bright spots for the Bulldogs, beating Penn on ground balls 10–5 and limiting turnovers. Yale’s last victory against Penn came in 2004.

“It was our goal to stay with Penn the whole game and I think we did a good job of that in the first half,” midfielder Anna Vetsch ’23 said. “I’d like to compete the way we did today against the other Ivies. If we keep playing the way we did today, especially against Brown next weekend, I think we’ll go really far.”

The Quakers were able to open the scoring just under five minutes into the first half when they capitalized on a free-position shot. Two more goals followed in the next eight minutes, with the Elis seeing their shots wide on two scoring opportunities.

Yale’s fortunes would shift for the better, however, when midfielder Olivia Markert ’21 took advantage of a man-up free-position shot with 17 minutes left in the first half. She found the bottom corner of the net from a high angle sweep of her stick, slotting the rock past the Quaker goalkeeper for her 12th goal of the season.

After Penn retaliated just 40 seconds after Markert to make it 4–1, Vetsch responded by scoring her first career goal for the Elis. The recruit from Marcellus, New York expertly weaved her way between two defenders to find an open field in front of the cage and opened fire.

A late goal from attacker Olivia Penoyer ’22 with 16 seconds left before the horn reduced the Elis’ deficit to just two goals and made the score 5–3 heading into the second half.

That gap would not last long, however, after Penn widened the margin to six with a flurry of uncontested goals at the start of the final period. Midfielder Bri Carrasquillo ’23 added one to the Bulldogs’ tally, latching onto a pass from captain Vanessa Yu ’20. The goal marked a three-game scoring streak for the rookie.

The match remained solidly in Penn’s hands for the remainder of time. Markert took the game’s final goal with just seven minutes left on the clock, propelling her to 13 this season in only four games. Her two goals on the day came at the expense of 10 shots, of which seven were on goal. According to Markert, one of her main goals is to become more efficient with her chances.

“We’re a young team — we want to build our brand. We really want to be a gritty team and a team that is able to play the full 60 minutes,” Markert said. “I thought that today, despite the outcome, that we did play really hard. We hustled, we didn’t quit the entire game, [and] we got ground balls which we’ve been trying to do this entire season. There’s a lot of positives that we can take away from this game.”

Despite the 5–11 scoreline, the Elis largely kept pace with the Quakers on a number of key statistics.

The Quakers only recorded two more draw controls than the Elis’ eight, and gave possession away on five more occasions.

Yale outshot Penn 32 to 31 throughout the full 60, maintaining a marginally higher percentage of shots on goal. The two Quaker goalkeepers’ combined total, however, saw them make seven more saves than the already impressive 11 saves of Eli goalkeeper Clare Boone ’22.

Penn was also able to draw six more free-position shots than the Elis’ four chances, giving them a plethora of opportunities to make plays.

“I am proud of our team for the way we competed on Saturday against Penn,” head coach Erica Bamford said. “Our women were relentless for 60 minutes. Unfortunately, the outcome was not what we wanted. We will certainly look to build on Saturday’s performance in preparation for Brown next weekend.”

Yale continues its Ivy League campaign at home against Brown this Saturday. The Bulldogs have seen victory against the Bears eight times in the last 10 years, and the young team will be eager to test itself against familiar conference opposition. The last meeting between the two teams went in Brown’s favour, 14–11.

The Elis exchange shots with the Bears at Reese Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Ryan Chiao |

Ryan Chiao is the Managing Editor of the Managing Board of 2023. He previously served as a Sports Editor and Photo Editor, and reported on Yale's athletics department.