Freshman Midfielder Adds Five Draw Controls
PHILADELPHIA – The Yale women's lacrosse team had the edge on Penn in draw controls and ground balls, and the two teams were even in shots on a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field. The Bulldogs also got six goals from freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis, who had five of the team's draw controls. But none of those positive numbers added up to victory. The Bulldogs were hurt by another statistic -- 14 turnovers -- and Penn came away with a 12-8 win.
"The statistic that stands out is the turnovers," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Those were the possessions we couldn't afford to give up. That was the difference in the game."
This was the most goals Yale (4-3, 0-2 Ivy League) has scored against Penn (2-3, 2-0 Ivy League) since scoring eight in 2006. But a slow start proved costly, as it took more than 11 minutes for the Bulldogs to get their first goal. But then Penn had scored three times, all following Yale turnovers.
Daniggelis started her scoring spree with an unassisted goal at 18:28 of the first, passing a stick check right afterwards to keep the goal intact. Two minutes later, she lost the ball in the eight-meter fan while driving but was fouled as she picked it back up. That gave her a free position shot, which she bounced in low inside the far post.
A yellow card then took Daniggelis off the field, but a Penn turnover enabled the Bulldogs to spend most of that time killing the clock.
Junior goalie Erin McMullan came up with one of her best saves of the day to deny a sidearm shot by attacker Caroline Bunting with 11 minutes left in the half, and junior defender Katherine Sherrill hustled to earn the ball back for the Bulldogs. That possession led to another Daniggelis goal, as she took a feed from senior attacker Devon Rhodes right in front to tie the game 3-3.
McMullan made a couple more nice saves in the half, punching away a shot by midfielder Shannon Mangini off a curl and then stopping a free position shot by midfielder Iris Williamson. But Mangini scored with 4:21 left in the half to put Penn up 4-3.
The Bulldogs had turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, negating their chances to build a lead of their own. That proved even more costly when the Quakers scored the first four goals of the second half, taking an 8-3 lead with 18:03 to play.
"We went cold shooting for some stretches, and that gave Penn an opportunity to get the lead and then build on it," said Phillips. "We battled back, though."
After junior defender Ashley McCormick won the draw control, the Bulldogs answered Penn's eighth goal with a goal by sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone. After Penn midfielder Iris Williamson scored on a free position, Daniggelis scored the next two goals of the game. One came off a feed from junior attacker Jen DeVito, and another came when she slung a low shot past Penn keeper Lucy Ferguson at the 9:39 mark.
Penn called time, but the Bulldogs momentarily maintained momentum by winning the draw. But after another Yale turnover, a goal by attacker Meredith Cain extended Penn's lead to 10-6.
Daniggelis scored her sixth with a sidearm bounce shot that pulled Yale within three with 5:30 to play. This was the second time this season a Yale player has scored six goals in a game; Rhodes did so in the win at Quinnipiac Feb. 27. Rhodes was also the last freshman to score that many goals in a game, scoring eight in a win over Harvard in 2010.
"Nicole had an unbelievable game," said Phillips. "Not just the goals, but also the draw controls. She's just a fighter. She fought the whole game."
Two minutes later, Rhodes drew a double team and passed to sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson, who took one fake and then shot low to make the score 10-8 with 3:19 left. That prompted another Penn timeout.
Sherrill then chased down the ensuing draw control deep in Yale territory. But any chance the Bulldogs had of creeping closer was negated by a turnover, which enabled Penn to take some more time off the clock before Cain scored to make it 11-8 with 2:17 to play. The Quakers then spent most of the final two minutes stalling after winning the draw control, with Williamson scoring her fourth goal of the game to make the final 12-8. McMullan finished with seven saves.
Pushing the Quakers -- who have won or shared six straight Ivy League championships -- up until the final minutes gives Yale reason for optimism as the season nears the halfway mark and five league games remain.
"So many parts of the game are there for us," said Phillips. "I couldn't be any more proud of our effort."
Yale visits Harvard for another Ivy League game next Saturday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity