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Record-Setting Day on the Draw Helps Yale Top Lehigh 16-8

Nicole Daniggelis. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Nicole Daniggelis. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Team Sets School Mark with 21 Draw Controls, Including Ivy Record 15 for Daniggelis

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – For more than 40 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Ulrich Sports Complex, the Yale women's lacrosse team found itself locked in a back-and-forth battle with Lehigh in which there were four ties and neither team ever led by more than three goals. But after the Mountain Hawks scored with 19:39 left to pull within 9-8, the Bulldogs clamped down on defense and began taking full advantage of a dominant performance on draw controls -- a school-record 21. By the time the final whistle sounded, Yale had scored the final seven goals of the game and claimed a 16-8 win. The Bulldogs were led by four goals from freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis, who set the Ivy League record for draw controls in a game with 15. Freshman attacker AnnaElise Morello added her first career hat trick.

In addition to Daniggelis' 15, the Bulldogs also got five draw controls from sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty. Yale wound up winning 21 of 25 draws for the game.

"We were planning on Nicole dominating the draw, and she did," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "I've never been at a game where anyone got 15 draw controls, though."

Doherty got the opening draw control, and that eventually led to senior attacker Devon Rhodes setting up Daniggelis for the game's first goal just 32 seconds in. Right after that Rhodes hit the post, and Lehigh went down to the other end of the field to get a goal from midfielder Kelsey Yenco that tied things up. That set the tone for the rest of the half, with neither team scoring more than two consecutive goals.

Lehigh (3-7, 1-3 Patriot League) went ahead on a free position goal by midfielder Julie McBrien, but right after that Daniggelis got the draw control and sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson scored to tie the game up 2-2.

The Mountain Hawks pulled ahead 4-2 with 16:05 left in the half before the game settled into a defensive struggle. It would be nearly 12 minutes before either team scored again; Doherty drove to draw a free position shot and fired it in low to pull Yale within 4-3 with 4:32 to play.

Yale (6-4, 0-3 Ivy League) regained some momentum heading into halftime on a play that started with junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan stopping a free position shot with less than 30 seconds to play. Junior midfielder Ashley McCormick got the ground ball, the Bulldogs pushed the ball up the field, and sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone fed junior attacker Jen DeVito for a goal seven seconds before halftime.

Lehigh went back ahead on a free position goal by McBrien at 27:43 of the second, but Daniggelis got the draw control and then scored off an assist by DeVito to tie the game again, 5-5 with 27:11 remaining.

Doherty then got the draw control and took it all the way in, scoring her second goal of the game and giving Yale a 6-5 lead. Daniggelis immediately pulled off the same feat to make it 7-5, then got another draw and scored off a Rhodes assist at 26:41. That capped a span of four goals in 30 seconds for the Bulldogs, three by Daniggelis.

The Mountain Hawks finally stopped the Yale run by getting a draw control, then earning another free position attempt. McBrien scored to pull Lehigh within 8-6 with 24:46 left.

Morello then scored her first career goal, assisted by Doherty, to put Yale up by three before Lehigh started one last rally. The Mountain Hawks took advantage of a series of fouls on Yale to get within 9-7. After McMullan was called for one, attacker Megan Paytas lined up for the free position shot with no goalie in net for the Bulldogs. Junior defender Adrienne Tarver made a spectacular play to get her stick on Paytas' shot at the empty net, but Tarver was called for leaving early on the free position attempt. That gave Paytas another free position attempt, which she used to pass to Yenco for a goal at 20:02.

The Mountain Hawks scored again quickly, taking advantage of a Yale turnover in the midfield to catch the Bulldogs in transition. Paytas scored off a Yenco feed, bringing the score to 9-8 Yale with 19:39 to play.

The remainder of the game saw the Bulldogs take better advantage of their draw control dominance to pull away.

"We were rushing on attack instead of being disciplined," said Phillips. "When we slowed down, we created better scoring opportunities."

After an extended Yale possession following the eighth Lehigh goal, Rhodes finished it off by firing the ball in off a feed from Morello with 17:40 to play.

A free position goal by Magnuson then gave Yale an 11-8 lead. Doherty got the draw control and drove down the field, dishing to Morello for a goal that extended the lead to four goals.

McMullan came up with a save on a free position shot by Yenco with less than 15 minutes to play, then stopped a shot by attacker Chelsea Retaleato from in front after the Bulldogs turned the ball over in their defensive zone.

Avallone made it 13-8 with a free position goal with 10:29 to play. Daniggelis then emerged from a crowd with her 14th draw control of the game, but a turnover in the Lehigh zone prohibited the Bulldogs from extending their lead. Lehigh's attempt to clear ended with Tarver chasing down a ground ball near the Yale restraining line, and the Bulldogs went back on attack with eight minutes left.

A yellow on Lehigh midfielder/defender Michelle Abramczyk gave the Bulldogs the chance to play with a man advantage, but a save momentarily stymied them. Morello caused a turnover on Lehigh's clear attempt and took it in for her third goal of the day to put Yale up 14-8.

After a Yale turnover Yenco had another free position shot with less than six minutes to play, but her shot was partially blocked and McMullan made the save. Another Mountain Hawks possession, this one with 3:30 to play, ended when junior defender Katherine Sherrill caused a turnover and junior midfielder Courteney Rutter got the ground ball.

Goals by Rhodes (off an assist by sophomore midfielder Emily Rutland) and Avallone (off a free position) made the final score 16-8.

Yale's offensive run in the second half coincided with Morello seeing her most extensive playing time of the year after making only brief appearances in two other games.

"She had a great day," said Phillips. "What I love about AnnaElise is that she can create for other people. She can put the ball on someone's stick and make it easy for them to score. Her decision making and feeding was what we needed today."

Daniggelis had seven draw controls in Yale's 15-9 win over Sacred Heart on Mar. 12, which was the most ever recorded by a Bulldog until Sunday. The Ivy League record entering the 2013 season was 10, by Princeton's Abigail Gutstein vs. Delaware Apr. 19, 1995.

Yale returns home to face Princeton Saturday at Noon in an Ivy League game.

"We still have some things we need to straighten out," said Phillips. "This was a hard weekend, including two games with a quick turnaround [Yale beat Cal on Friday at Reese Stadium]. We were inconsistent, but we played well enough to win today."

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity

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