Courtesy of Yale Athletics

The women’s lacrosse team will compete this weekend in its first competitive matchup since spring 2020. 

On Saturday, the Bulldogs (0–0, 0–0 Ivy) will square up against Sacred Heart University (0–0, 0–0 NEC) at 3 p.m. in their 2022 season opener. With 17 first years on the 38 person squad, there will be a lot of new talent on the field.

“The transition to college lacrosse has been great. The Yale women’s lacrosse team consists of some of the most amazing women who support and encourage one another. This has helped tremendously with the transition to train and compete at the Division I level,” midfielder Alex Hopkins ’25 said.

In Yale’s last competitive season in 2020, the team recorded four wins and two losses. When the remainder of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue and White were placed fifth in the Ancient Eight standings. 

This year, the squad is ranked seventh in the Ivy preseason poll. But after more than a year without competitive play, the Elis will be hoping to defy expectations and secure a higher finish come the end of the season.

Given the long break in play, leadership and team synergy will be an important topic to address for the Elis in its first few games. 

“The leadership on our team did an excellent job of staying connected and building relationships with their teammates without a lacrosse season,” head coach Erica Bamford said.

With 709 days separating Yale’s last match — a 13–12 overtime victory against Fresno State on March 12, 2020 — and the upcoming tilt this Saturday, the team is ecstatic to be out on the field again wearing the Blue and White on home turf at Reese Stadium.

“I think the first game back at Reese is going to be really special,” captain Kelsey Dunn ’22 said. “It’s such an honor to put on the Yale jersey … after taking so much time off [it] is going to be extra exciting. Our team looks a lot different now than it did two years ago when we walked off the field, so there’s really just this anticipation to go out and show everyone who Yale lacrosse is now.”

Sacred Heart University will be the first test for the young Yale squad as the Pioneers took part in a competitive season in 2021, tallying six wins and seven losses. Still, Sacred Heart has not achieved a record above 0.500 since 2010. 

Yale last faced its Connecticut neighbor in 2017, trouncing Sacred Heart, 17–5. The Bulldogs have also won their last three matchups against the Pioneers.

The women’s lacrosse team will kick off its season Saturday, Feb. 19 at Reese Stadium.