Balanced Scoring Helps Yale Knock off Hofstra 9-7

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Christina Doherty and Devon Rhodes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Seven Different Players Score; McMullan Makes Eight Saves

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Heading into Saturday afternoon's game vs. Yale at Shuart Stadium, the Hofstra women's lacrosse team had lost just once in its first five games -- at No. 1 Maryland. Yale had split its first four games, showing the inconsistency that might be expected of a team that has already had nine different freshmen and sophomores start at least one game each. But it all came together at the right time for the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon, as seven different players scored and junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan made eight saves to lead Yale to a 9-7 win.

"We were patient on offense and really picked our shots," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "We had a great shooting percentage, and were deliberate with the ball. We didn't have any unforced errors or bad shots. The defense had some long stands where they didn't give up a goal, or got a turnover when we needed one. Today, both ends of the field worked together."

Hofstra (4-2, 0-0 CAA) fell 16-11 at Maryland last weekend and had nearly a week to prepare for the Bulldogs, who were coming off a 14-13 win at Bryant Wednesday. The Pride jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the game, but that would wind up being its largest lead of the day. Yale (3-2, 0-1 Ivy League) scored three of the next four goals of the game to tie things up 3-3.

Those goals came from three different players -- junior attacker Jen DeVito, sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone and freshman midfielder Kelly Anne Sherlock -- and so did the assists (sophomore attacker Kerri Fleishhacker, sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty and senior attacker Devon Rhodes).

After a goal by attacker Sam Lenox gave the lead back to Hofstra with 17:33 left in the half, the Bulldogs began to exert control. Sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson scored two straight unassisted goals to put Yale up 5-4 with 7:23 left; the Bulldogs would never lose the lead.

"They scored two quick goals, then we tightened up on defense and kind of frustrated them," said Phillips. "That allowed us to gain momentum and start building a lead."

The Pride wound up scoring just three goals in the game's final 47:33. The team's three leading goal scorers -- attackers Brittain Altomare, Emily Considine and Julia Riemer -- had combined for 29 goals in the first five games but totaled only two on Saturday. While Hofstra had almost a full week to game plan for Yale, the Bulldogs had a coaching edge of a different kind: Yale assistant coach Tanya Kotowicz spent the previous four years at Hofstra and knew the Pride's personnel well.

"We knew their tendencies," said Phillips. "That helped us match up, but we still had to execute. [Junior defender] Kallie Parchman and [freshman defender] Kate Walker did a great job on the crease. We knew Hofstra was going to attack the crease, but they did not have much success there today."

Yale, meanwhile, kept scoring goals in a timely fashion. With Hofstra down a man late in the second half due to a yellow card, the Bulldogs passed up a pair of free position shots and worked the clock down. Right before the penalty expired, DeVito fed freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis in front. Daniggelis spun through a double team and bounced the ball in to put Yale ahead 6-4 heading into halftime.

The teams traded goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with Rhodes scoring on a free position shot and Altomare answering for Hofstra.

The Bulldogs pulled back ahead by three when Doherty fired a free position shot low past Hofstra keeper Kelsey Gregerson (two saves). That was as big as the lead would get, though. After Yale turned the ball over deep in Hofstra territory, a yellow card sent Fleishhacker to the sideline with 7:28 to play. McMullan came up with a save on a free position shot with 6:30 left, and junior defender Adrienne Tarver came up with the ground ball. But the Bulldogs turned the ball over while attempting to clear. Hofstra then scored two quick goals, including one on a free position, to pull within 8-7 with 4:46 left. Yale called time after the seventh goal.

Hofstra came away with the draw control, but lost the ball in front of the goal and Tarver once again came away with the ground ball. The Bulldogs set up in the Hofstra zone with 3:30 to play.

Yale had some experience working with a slim lead late in the game, having finished off a one-goal win at Bryant on Wednesday. But rather than killing the clock, Avallone beat two defenders, drove in front of the goal from the side, and fired in a high shot left-handed that extended the lead to 9-7.

"I told our players that they had the green light if they had a great scoring opportunity," said Phillips. "Cathryn drove in from the left-hand side of a left-handed goalie, but she threw a great fake. I would have preferred to stall, but she made the shot."

It was also a fitting way to cap the scoring for the Bulldogs. Eight of Yale's nine goals for the day came from New Yorkers, including Avallone, playing close to home on Long Island.

Hofstra was then penalized for drawing early on the draw control, giving the ball to the Bulldogs. But a Yale turnover gave the Pride one last chance to get back in the game. With less than two minutes to play, Riemer attempted to drive in from the right-hand side of the 8-meter arc but was met by Tarver. Riemer was forced to fire a shot wide, but Hofstra maintained possession. McMullan finally extinguished the Pride's last threat by denying a shot by Considine, grabbing the ball in dramatic fashion after popping it up in the air while making the save.

The Bulldogs cleared the ball and then played keep away, getting the ball to Rhodes to run out the final seconds.

"Our players handled the pressure really well," said Phillips. "That's a tough press to beat. We showed a lot of composure. We're still a work in progress, but our chemistry is starting to show on the field."

Yale hosts Sacred Heart Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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