Season Outlook: Bulldogs Look to Continue Improving in 2014
Team Returns 11 Starters from Last Season
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's lacrosse team showed many signs of progress in 2013, as the Bulldogs posted their best win total in five years and increased their goals scored compared to the previous season by a whopping 23 percent. Yale also had its lowest goals-allowed total since 2010. All but two players from that team are back for 2014, and with the addition of 10 freshmen Yale figures to have the talent and depth to make even more improvements in 2014. The roster includes 11 players who made 11 or more starts last season, and nine seniors looking to end their careers on a high note.
This is Yale's sixth season with Anne Phillips as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. Tanya Kotowicz returns for her second season as assistant coach, and Ashley Casiano joins the staff for her first year as an assistant.
Here is a position-by-position look at the team heading into the 2014 season, which starts Feb. 22 vs. Holy Cross:
10 players (2 seniors, 1 junior, 3 sophomores, 4 freshmen)
3 returning starters (11 or more starts in 2013): Daniggelis, DeVito, Fleishhacker
Two talented seniors provide leadership on attack for the Bulldogs. Jen DeVito has been among Yale's top five in points in each of the past three seasons, and was third in points last season (15-16-31). She also tied for the team lead in assists. That was a career high in assists for her, and she tied her career high in goals. Classmate Meghan Murray was sidelined by injury for the entire season, but when she was healthy in her first two seasons she showed an ability to contribute offensively and on the draw control -- 11 goals and 21 draw controls in 29 games.
Junior Kerri Fleishhacker has been one of Yale's top three goal scorers in each of her first two seasons, and finished last year with 20 goals. A tenacious player on the ride, she was also third on the Bulldogs in caused turnovers with 10.
A trio of sophomores adds to Yale's attack. Nicole Daniggelis made a major impact in a variety of ways as a freshman, scoring a team-high 39 goals (fifth in the Ivy League) and finishing second on the team with 42 points. Her prowess on the draw control was remarkable, as she set the school single-season record with 76 draws (six shy of the league record) and the Ivy League single-game record with 15 at Lehigh. She earned All-Northeast Region honors, and was the only freshman to earn first team All-Ivy League recognition. She was also named to the Synapse Sports All-Rookie Team.
Britta Hjelm will look for an expanded role this season after appearing in one game last season. She was a first team All-Mainline selection in high school. AnnaElise Morello showed an ability to contribute offensively in limited action last year, including three goals (on three shots) and an assist in the 16-8 win at Lehigh.
The Bulldogs brought in four attackers in the freshman class. Hope Hanley (Dover, Mass.) was a New England Prep School Women's Lacrosse Association All-Star last year at Loomis Chaffee, where she led the team in scoring with 68 goals and 25 assists. Lexi Henkel (Greenwich, Conn.), Yale's tallest attacker at 5-foot-11, was a three-year starter and FAA All-League pick at Greenwich Academy. Tess McEvoy (Bethesda, Md.) earned Under Armour All-American and US Lacrosse All-American honors (twice) at Georgetown Visitation. Erin Sungelo (Parker, Colo.) was a US Lacrosse All-American and four-year starter at Regis Jesuit, earning the team's Offensive Player of the Year Award last season.
13 players (3 seniors, 4 juniors, 3 sophomores, 3 freshmen)
3 returning starters (11 or more starts in 2013): Avallone, Doherty, Magnuson
The senior midfield class includes Ashley McCormick, Julie Mongan and Courteney Rutter. McCormick has battled injuries but managed to appear in 11 games last season, primarily playing defense. She started 28 games in the first two years of her career, and her hustle helped her generate a team-high 15 caused turnovers in 2012. She can also contribute offensively, with 15 career goals.
Mongan has appeared in 25 games for her career, contributing a pair of goals and an assist. Rutter appeared in a career-high 12 games last year, scoring her fourth career goal.
The junior midfielders have posted big offensive numbers for two straight seasons. Cathryn Avallone had her second straight 20-point season last year (16-5-21), leading the team with a .516 shooting percentage. Her speed and quickness enabled her to reach double digits in ground balls (16) and draw controls (10), making her one of just four Bulldogs with double figures in draw controls, ground balls and points. Christina Doherty was another player who accomplished that feat, including a team-best 36 ground balls. She was second on the team in draw controls with 35, a tribute to her speed and aggressiveness. Doherty also had 18 points on nine goals and nine assists, and led the team in caused turnovers with 16.
Doherty and Erin Magnuson have been the only midfielders to start all 15 games each of the past two years. Magnuson made dramatic improvements in her stats last season, improving her goals total from six to 19 and her points total from eight to 25. Her .500 shooting percentage was second only to Avallone. Emily Rutland appeared in 12 games, including a pair of starts, to add further depth to this impressive class of midfielders.
Three talented sophomores showed signs of being factors in the midfield last season: Kelly Anne Sherlock, Tori Virtue and Lauren Wackerle. Sherlock was limited to 11 games by injury, but earned six starts and scored five goals on just six shots (a .714 shooting percentage). She also had 10 draw controls. Virtue saw more and more playing time as last season wore on, eventually delivering her first career goal in the season finale. She earned the team's most improved player award for her efforts. Wackerle appeared in 12 games, starting three, and scored four goals.
The freshman class includes Marisa Cresham (Rockville, Md.), Sophie Mussafer (Weston, Mass.) and Carlin Zia (Exeter, N.H.). Cresham, who can also play defender, was a three-time team MVP at Wootton High School and was an Under Armour Underclass All-Star in 2012. Mussafer led Noble and Greenough in goals as a senior, and was the team's most valuable player at attacker. Zia was co-captain of her team at Phillips Exeter, earning the team's Kesler award for spirit and dedication.
12 players (3 seniors, 2 juniors, 4 sophomores, 3 freshmen)
4 returning starters (11 or more starts in 2013): Parchman, Sherrill, Tarver, Walker
Three senior defenders give the Yale defensive unit a rare amount of experience, as they have totaled 119 games played and 108 starts. Kallie Parchman has played in all 45 games of her career, starting 40. She has had seven caused turnovers in each of the past two seasons. Katherine Sherrill emerged as a starter in her sophomore year after playing in just one game as a freshman; she has started 26 games the past two years. One of Yale's most athletic players, Sherrill has also had seven caused turnovers (and nine ground balls) in each of the past two years. Adrienne Tarver, elected Yale's captain by her teammates, finished second on the team in caused turnovers (12) -- the third year she has been among the Bulldogs' top three in that category. She was also second on the team in ground balls with 26. She has started 43 games for her career.
The junior class includes Claire Curran and Jayne Flynn. Curran appeared in 11 games last year, earning the first four starts of her career. Flynn, who was injured as a freshman, missed last season but started six of the eight games she was healthy for two years ago.
The sophomore class includes four defenders: Flannery Carney, Maggie Moriarty, Courtney Reilly and Kate Walker. Carney appeared in four games last season, while Moriarty appeared in two and Reilly appeared in one. Walker started all 15 games, the only freshman to accomplish that feat. She is one of the three tallest Bulldogs at 5-foot-11 (along with Doherty and Henkel).
The freshmen defenders are Emily Markham (Manhasset, N.Y.), Victoria Moore (Concord, Mass.) and Ashley Perselay (Chatham, N.J.). Markham was all-county and first team All-Long Island at Manhasset -- the same school that produced Avallone, Fleishhacker and Reilly. Moore, a teammate of Mussafer on Revolution Lacrosse Black, was an honorable mention All-American for Buckingham Browne & Nichols. She won US Lacrosse's Jackie Pitts Award, given to seniors in high school for academic, community service and athletic accomplishments. Perselay was first team All-Daily Record at Chatham, where she was named her team's top defender.
2 players (1 senior, 1 junior)
1 returning starter (11 or more starts in 2013): McMullan
The same goaltending duo that helped Yale to its lowest goals-allowed total since 2010 last year returns for another season together. Senior Erin McMullan took over as the starting goalie midway through her sophomore season, and last season she started all 15 games. She finished fourth in the Ivy League with 99 saves, including 11 against Dartmouth, while posting a .381 save percentage. Erin Mullins got her first 42 minutes of varsity experience last season, stopping four of the 10 shots she faced.
Yale opens the 2014 season vs. Holy Cross on Saturday Feb. 22 at Reese Stadium. The 2014 slate includes three games against teams that were nationally ranked in the preseason poll, and four against teams that made last year's NCAA Tournament. Yale's 15 regular-season games include seven Ivy League games and eight non-league games. This is the fifth year for the Ivy League women's lacrosse tournament, in which the top four teams in the final standings play for the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.