Bulldogs Limit Golden Bears to One Goal in Second Half
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's lacrosse team's offense got back to what had made it so successful earlier in the season on Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium -- balanced scoring. The Bulldog defense tied its season low for goals allowed in a game, and allowed just one goal in the second half. The end result was a 10-7 win over Cal that snapped a two-game losing skid and pushed Yale over the .500 mark for the season.
Yale (5-4, 0-3 Ivy League) is now 4-1 in games where six or more players score goals, and 1-3 in games where five or fewer players score goals. Saturday's effort was led by a hat trick from freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis, who has scored at least one goal in all seven games she has played this year. The defense benefited from eight saves by junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan, the most she has made since stopping eight in the 9-7 win at Hofstra 20 days earlier.
"We executed the things that we have been working on this week -- speeding up our tempo, cutting hard to goal, looking for options, focusing on the fundamentals of defense, making sure we didn't leave cutters open," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "We had some turnovers that enabled Cal to stay in the game, but eventually we started controlling the tempo. Erin McMullan made some big saves, and we were able to build up our lead in the second half."
The first half was a see-saw battle in which neither team pulled ahead by more than two goals. Yale held an early 3-1 lead on a pair of unassisted goals by sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone and one by sophomore attacker Kerri Fleishhacker, but Cal rallied to tie the game 3-3.
After Daniggelis put the Bulldogs up 4-3, Cal (5-4, 3-0 MPSF) reeled off three straight goals and appeared to have all the momentum heading into halftime. But after the last of those goals, with only 24 seconds left in the half, Daniggelis got the draw control -- one of six draws on the day for her. The Bulldogs pushed the ball ahead and were able to score with five seconds on the clock, as freshman attacker AnnaElise Morello fed senior attacker Devon Rhodes in front to pull Yale within 6-5. That was Morello's first career point.
Assisted by Fleishhacker, Rhodes tied the game 6-6 nearly seven minutes into the second half.
"Scoring right before halftime gave us a little momentum going into halftime," Phillips said. "Then we came out and scored the first goal of the second half, which was important because we haven't done that a lot lately. We wanted to come out hard and stay focused."
Cal went back ahead 7-6 with 17:28 to play on a goal by attacker Megan Takacs, her fourth of the day. But that would be the end of the scoring for the Golden Bears. Junior defender Adrienne Tarver got the next draw control, starting a string of three straight draws for Yale -- each one by a different player (Tarver, sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty and sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson).
Doherty, known more for contributing with key draw controls and ground balls, showed some scoring prowess at an opportune time Saturday. She bounced in her fourth goal of the year to tie the game up with 14:53 to play.
"We've been working hard with Christina about attacking the goal," said Phillips. "She handles the ball a lot and is huge on draws. So we're working on driving and scoring. She came up with a big goal for us today."
A minute later, Magnuson scored on a free position shot to give the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead, their first lead since the 9:23 mark of the first. They built on that lead with a pair of goals by Daniggelis, one assisted by Rhodes and one assisted by Magnuson, to go up 10-7 with 6:43 to play.
"Even though she is just a freshman, Nicole comes up with big plays," Phillips said. "She can dominate on the draw, and she seems to know when we need a big goal."
With six games left in the regular season, Magnuson's two points Saturday left her with nearly double her point total from a year ago (10-5-15 this year, 6-2-8 last year).
"Erin made the greatest advance in her drive to goal, her fake before she shoots, and then burying the ball after she moves the goalkeeper," said Phillips. "She has been doing that ever since she came back from last summer, and it has been phenomenal."
After a draw control win by the Bears following Yale's 10th goal, the Bulldogs had to survive a yellow card against Fleishhacker. Right after a save by McMullan, a yellow card on Cal helped even things up. With 2:30 to play Avallone caused a turnover, but the Bulldogs turned the ball back over to the Bears without being able to run much time off the clock. Magnuson then caused a turnover and got the ground ball with two minutes to play.
After Cal goalie Megan McGinnis denied a shot by Fleishhacker, the Golden Bears turned the ball over again and freshman defender Kate Walker scooped up the ground ball in Bulldog territory. Yale ran out the clock for the win.
Yale is now 4-0 when committing 12 or fewer turnovers in a game. The Bulldogs also won by limiting their fouls -- Cal only got two free position attempts, scoring on one. And Yale kept its recent trend of effective performances on the clear going, finishing 13-for-14.
"Our midfielders did a great job," Phillips said. "They had some pressure handles, and they brought the ball up in traffic."
Yale now heads to Lehigh for a game Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity