Hat Trick for Avallone
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's lacrosse team was within striking distance of five-time defending Ivy League champion No. 9 Penn after a goal by freshman attacker Kerri Fleishhacker pulled the Bulldogs within two with 22:31 to play Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium. But Penn responded with veteran poise, and in the end that was enough to hold off the upstart Bulldogs. A 6-1 run by the Quakers late in the second half proved decisive as Penn came away with a 12-6 win. Freshman midfielder Cathryn Avallone had a hat trick to lead Yale.
Yale (2-3, 0-2 Ivy League) had just recently returned to New Haven from a game vs. No. 7 Notre Dame in Florida where the Bulldogs fell behind 10-0, rallied, but eventually fell 15-9. Saturday's game got off to a much different start. After sophomore defender Kallie Parchman got the opening draw control, the Bulldogs maintained possession for nearly eight minutes. They got off only two shots in that time frame, though, and both were saved by Penn goalie Emily Leitner. The second one led directly to a goal in transition, as midfielder Meredith Cain gave Penn a 1-0 lead at the 21:59 mark.
Six minutes later, midfielder Shannon Mangini put Penn up 2-0 with the first of her four goals for the day. Avallone had a goal wiped off when she was called for a crease violation, but she got that one right back. After the Bulldogs nearly turned the ball over behind the Penn goal, Avallone grabbed the ball and swung around front to deposit Yale's first goal of the game at 12:49.
Penn (4-1, 2-0 Ivy League) began picking up the pace offensively in the final 10 minutes of the half. The Quakers reeled off three goals in a span of five minutes, each preceded by a Yale turnover. The Bulldogs had nine turnovers in the first half and 16 for the game.
"You can't have that many turnovers in a game," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "We didn't handle the ball well on the clear, and those extra opportunities resulted in Penn goals."
Freshman midfielder Reilly Foote got one goal back for Yale, scoring on a free position shot with 2:19 left in the first half. Avallone then started the scoring in the second half by backing down the defense for a goal that made it 5-3. Penn answered a minute later with another goal by Mangini off a perfectly placed pass by attacker Courtney Tomchik. But after Fleishhacker bounced one in after driving to goal from a tough angle, the Bulldogs found themselves within 6-4 with 22:31 to play.
"We ran a very patient offense, and a deliberate offense," Phillips said. "That was what we didn't do vs. Notre Dame. That was a positive."
Another positive was the Yale defense's work on Penn attacker Erin Brennan, who in the prior week had a school-record seven assists against Rutgers and a hat trick against Harvard. She was limited to just one goal and an assist on Saturday, blanketed for most of the afternoon by sophomore defender Adrienne Tarver. Tomchik, who was tied for the team lead with 10 goals entering the day, also had just one goal and an assist. Phillips credited sophomore defender Katherine Sherrill and freshman midfielder Erin Magnuson for containing her.
"Defensively we played pretty well," Phillips said. "To play a veteran Penn offense like that, and play that well defensively, I was pretty pleased."
Yale also played the Quakers evenly on the draw circle, with each team getting 10 draws. Freshman midfielder Christina Doherty had a game-high five of those.
But following Fleishhacker's goal Penn got the draw control and scored less than a minute later, touching off a four-goal run that effectively put the game out of reach. Senior attacker Caroline Crow scored on a free position shot with 9:35 to play to pull Yale within 10-5, but shortly after that a shot by sophomore attacker Meghan Murray in traffic right in front of the net sailed high, and two more goals by Penn followed.
Sophomore goalie Erin McMullan came on in relief of senior Whitney Quackenbush (six saves) after the 12th goal with 4:34 to play. While Yale kept Penn off the scoreboard after that, the Bulldogs only managed one more goal themselves. Avallone scored in transition off a pass from Doherty, finishing off her first career hat trick. She is now tied with Crow for the team lead in goals with nine.
"She's very poised," Phillips said of Avallone. "She's a tough kid, and she's not intimidated by anything. She plays hard and has been a really solid part of the attack all year."
All told, five of Yale's six goals came from freshmen, and this was the most goals Yale has scored in a game vs. Penn since a 9-8 double-overtime loss in 2006.
"We played hard for 60 minutes, but the turnovers really hurt us," said Phillips.
Yale travels to BU Wednesday to make up a game that was originally scheduled for Feb. 29 but was postponed due to a winter storm.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity
The Yale-Penn game can be viewed on demand on Yale All-Access.