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Off to Best Start in Five Years, Yale Visits Penn Saturday

Ashley McCormick. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Ashley McCormick. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Seek Fourth Win in a Row

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – At 4-2, the Yale women's lacrosse team is off to its best start since 2008. In order to get to 5-2 -- which would be the team's best start in 10 years -- the Bulldogs face a tough challenge: win on Saturday at Penn (12:00 p.m.). The Quakers have won or shared the last six Ivy League championships and made three appearances in the NCAA Final Four in that span. The Yale attack, which is on pace for nearly 200 goals this season, must overcome a Penn defense that leads the Ivy League in scoring defense.

Yale (4-2, 0-1 Ivy League) has a three-game winning streak after beating Sacred Heart 15-9 Tuesday afternoon at Reese Stadium. That is the Bulldogs' longest winning streak since the 2008 season. With 76 goals in the first six games, Yale is on pace for 190 goals this season, which would be the team's best total since scoring 195 in 2007.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs' attack is senior attacker Devon Rhodes (E. Northport, N.Y.), Yale's captain, who leads the Ivy League in goals (19) and is tied for the league lead in points (26). Junior attacker Jen DeVito (Wading River, N.Y.) is tied for the league lead in assists with nine. With 11 goals on 19 shots, DeVito is sixth in the league in shooting percentage (.579) among players with 15 or more shots -- and Rhodes (.576) is right behind her.

Bulldogs dot the Ivy League leaders in other categories as well. Junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan (Wading River, N.Y.) leads the Ancient Eight with 35 saves, and sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) is tied for second in the league in ground balls with 14 -- followed closely by junior defender Adrienne Tarver (Pikesville, Md.), who is tied for fifth with 12.

Doherty is also tied for fifth in the league in draw controls with 14, right behind freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis (St. James, N.Y.). Despite missing two games due to injury, Daniggelis is fourth in the league with 16 draws. That includes seven in the win over Sacred Heart Wednesday.

There are four Pennsylvania natives on the Yale roster: freshman midfielder Britta Hjelm (Devon, Pa.), junior defender Ashley McCormick (Paoli, Pa.), junior midfielder Julie Mongan (Malvern, Pa.) and freshman attacker AnnaElise Morello (Glen Mills, Pa.).

Last year in New Haven, the Bulldogs spotted the Quakers a 5-1 lead before rallying to get within 6-4 early in the second half. A 6-1 run by Penn then put the game out of reach before Avallone finished off her hat trick with a goal in the final two minutes.

Penn (1-3, 1-0 Ivy League), which lost its first three games before beating Harvard 14-5 last Saturday, had gone 25 years without an Ivy title before starting their run of six straight in 2007.

Midfielder Iris Wiliamson leads the Quakers in goals and points (9-0-9). Midfielder Maddie Poplawski, a unanimous first team All-Ivy League selection last year, is second in both categories (5-2-7). Midfielder Shannon Mangini, who had a career high five points on four goals and an assist against Yale last year, has two goals and one assist so far this season. Mangini is tied for the team lead in ground balls (seven) with goalie Lucy Ferguson and tied for the team lead in caused turnovers (four) with Poplawski. Midfielder Meredith Cain leads the team in draw controls with nine.

Ferguson, a five-foot-10 transfer from William & Mary who was fourth in the country in saves last year, leads the Ivy League in save percentage (.484) and goals-against average (8.19). Thanks in large part to her work, Penn leads the league in scoring defense (8.25 goals per game).

Saturday is Alumnae and Alumni Day for Penn, with the Quaker men's team hosting Princeton after the Yale-Penn women's game.

Yale at Penn, Saturday, 12:00 p.m.:

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity

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