JMU Pulls Away from Yale in Second Half, 10-4

Kelsea Smith. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kelsea Smith. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Quackenbush Makes 13 Saves

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Buoyed by some big saves early on by sophomore goalie Whitney Quackenbush, the Yale women's lacrosse team hung close to James Madison for more than 40 minutes Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium. The Dukes, who had outscored their first two opponents of the season 29-5, led just 5-4 with 20 minutes to play after freshman midfielder Kelsea Smith scored her first career goal for the Bulldogs. But a spurt of four JMU goals in less than two minutes dramatically shifted momentum, and the Dukes went on to a 10-4 win.

"We hung in there in the first half because we were disciplined on attack, and Whitney made several saves right off the bat that were a huge boost for us and frustrating for JMU," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Then, we just had a bad two-minute span."

Quackenbush's 13-save day started with a denial of midfielder Kim Griffin's free position shot two minutes in. She then stuffed a point-blank attempt from midfielder Caitlin Sullivan five minutes in, and also turned aside attacker Casey Ancarrow's shot in transition after a Yale turnover.

Yale (1-2, 0-0 Ivy League) grabbed an early lead on a free position goal by freshman midfielder Kristen Chapman, but just two minutes later JMU middie Monica Zabel evened the score with a free position goal of her own. Another free position goal, this one by midfielder Annie Brophy, gave the Dukes a 2-1 lead at 19:08.

Senior attacker Jessica Sturgill drew the attention of the defense with a drive at 16:32, then fed freshman midfielder Devon Rhodes for the game-tying goal. The Bulldogs then got their first draw control of the game but turned it over, and JMU (3-0, 0-0 CAA) eventually got a goal from Griffin to go up 3-2.

Quackenbush denied a free position shot by Sullivan right after that, but the Bulldogs then failed to convert a pair of free position attempts of their own. A nice defensive play in front by senior defender Claire Eliasberg kept attacker Ariel Lane from getting off a shot with four minutes to play in the half, but right before time ran out attacker Mary Kate Lomady drew a foul and scored on the free position shot for a 4-2 lead.

Junior midfielder/defender Kaitlyn Flatley pulled Yale back within one at 27:57 of the second, but a minute later Lomady caused a turnover and turned it into a goal.

Smith then brought Yale within 5-4 with 19:52 to play, delivering on a free position attempt.

"Kelsea got a lot of minutes today against a really fast team," Phillips said. "In a pressure situation, to get on the 8-meter and nail the shot bodes well. She is really coming along."

But the Bulldogs once again turned the ball over after getting the draw control. On a day where Yale got only five of 15 draws, losing the draw controls they did get hurt even more.

"Draw control hurt us -- not being able to get possession on attack," said Phillips. "We tried every adjustment on the draw that we could, we just couldn't come up with it."

After a yellow card on the Bulldogs, the Dukes started their critical run by getting goals from Lane, Ancarrow, Griffin and Lane again to go up 9-4 with 16:48 to play.

The Bulldogs then caught a tough break after Chapman scored on a free position shot with 10:21 to play. On a routine random stick check prior to the ensuing draw control, the officials picked Chapman. They ruled that her stick was illegal, and -- after realizing that she had been the one who just scored -- they nullified the goal as well. The Dukes then controlled the ball for much of the remainder of the game, running down the clock. Brophy's goal with 2:01 to play capped the scoring.

"Defensively we played a great game against a very good offense," Phillips said. "That's what we're built for. But we have to generate offense on the other end. We have a lot of inexperience up there."

Three of Yale's four goals Saturday came from freshmen, and every healthy rookie on Yale's roster has been counted on for contributions so far this season. The transition has been slightly easier on the defensive end, where -- with Adrianna Amendola sidelined - Chloë Drimal is the only freshman seeing minutes.

"Chloë has done a great job," Phillips said. "She's playing with a number of veterans in players like Claire, [senior defender] Michele [Fiorentino], [junior defender] Fielding [Kidd] and [junior defender] Augusta [Hixon]. We feel good about the defense."

The Bulldogs also figure to get at least one veteran midfield reinforcement back shortly. Junior Logan Greer was busy finishing off her winter season on Saturday, advancing to the semifinals as the No. 4 seed at the College Squash Association individual championships. Greer fell to the No. 1 seed, Harvard's Laura Gemmell, in the semis.  

Yale plays its first road game of the season next Wednesday, traveling to UMass for a 4 p.m. game.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity

Video Highlights by Sam Dorward '13, Yale Sports Publicity:

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