Second-Half Rally for Yale Falls Short
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – No. 13 Penn jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the Yale women's lacrosse team Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium, and that edge ultimately proved critical as the Quakers held off the Bulldogs for an 11-9 win. That loss dropped Yale from the ranks of the unbeaten, as the Bulldogs had won their first five games of the season.
"We played right with them," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Our defense played well, and our offense shot well as the game wore on."
Penn (4-1, 2-0 Ivy League), which has won or shared the last seven Ivy League titles, benefitted from three misses on free position shots by the Bulldogs in the first 12 minutes -- including one that hit the post. Yale also had a free position goal waved off because of a foul on the Quakers, and Penn goalie Lucy Ferguson made a save on the ensuing free position shot.
The Quakers' offense got off to a quick start thanks in part to midfielder/defender Lely DeSimone, who had a pair of goals in the first 15 minutes as Penn grabbed a 4-1 lead. Yale's lone goal in that span came on a free position shot by sophomore attacker Nicole Daniggelis.
Daniggelis then helped the Bulldogs battle back by scoring twice in a span of just over a minute to pull Yale within one goal.
"Nicole was going 1v1, got off some inside tight shots and scored," said Phillips.
But after calling timeout, Penn scored the final three goals of the first half to enter halftime with a 7-3 lead.
Yale (5-1, 1-1 Ivy League) got an immediate boost from junior attacker Kerri Fleishhacker in the second half. After sophomore midfielder Kelly Anne Sherlock got the opening draw, Fleishhacker quickly drove in for a goal 24 seconds into the second.
DeSimone answered three minutes later for Penn, but the Bulldogs then went on another run. Immediately after a yellow card on Penn midfielder Lindsey Smith, junior midfielder Erin Magnuson drove in for a goal that made the score 8-5 Penn with 22:54 left.
Senior goalie Erin McMullan then helped keep her team in the game with back-to-back saves on midfielder Tory Bensen and midfielder Nina Corcoran. After the second save, McMullan launched a long pass to Fleishhacker in the midfield, and Fleishhacker once again drove to goal and scored.
"Kerry shot well all game, and she mixed it up," said Phillips. "She scored some huge goals that kept us in the game -- momentum shifters."
After senior attacker Jen DeVito caused a turnover and Daniggelis fed Fleishhacker for a goal that pulled Yale within 8-7 with 19:47 to play, Penn called timeout. Both teams began operating more deliberately, and more than 10 minutes passed before the next goal.
McMullan made a pair of saves on free position shots in that span, but Penn eventually got some breathing room with a goal from Bensen with 8:06 to play.
Yale answered immediately, though, as Daniggelis got the draw control (one of five DCs on the day for her), drew a foul and scored her 15th goal of the year on the free position shot.
But shortly after that came a series of critical plays that would provide the Quakers with the necessary margin of victory. First, McMullan denied another free position shot and senior defender Adrienne Tarver got the ground ball. But down at the other end of the field, with 5:45 to play, freshman Tess McEvoy's shot -- which would have tied the game had it gone in -- hit the post. The ball bounced all the way out near Penn's restraining line, where Smith was all alone and grabbed it. The Quakers then utilized that possession to extend the lead to 10-8 on a goal by DeSimone, her fourth of the game.
"That was the tying goal," Phillips said of McEvoy's shot. "Then, it rebounded out so far and Penn came up with it. That was a pivotal point in the game."
Fleishhacker scored her fourth goal of the game with 3:35 to play after Magnuson got the draw control, but DeSimone got the next draw control. A yellow card on Daniggelis then enabled Penn to work most of the final minutes off the clock with Yale limited in its ability to pressure out. Midfielder Lauren D'Amore scored on an empty net with 49 seconds to play, and a Yale turnover after the final draw control enabled Penn to seal the win.
McMullan finished with 11 saves, the most she has made in a game since also stopping 11 on Mar. 2, 2013 vs. Dartmouth.
"Erin McMullan played amazing," said Phillips. "Collectively, the defense played well, essentially limiting them to 10 goals because the last one was an empty-netter."
The Bulldogs were hurt by 28 fouls, compared to 15 for Penn -- and the difference was even more lopsided in the second half (14 fouls for Yale, five for Penn). The Quakers also got 11 free position shots, compared to just six for Yale, but thanks to McMullan Penn only scored one free position goal.
This was the 152nd victory for Penn coach Karin Corbett, making her the Quakers' all-time leader in that department. It was also Penn's 11th straight win in league games, and the Quakers are now 50-2 in their last 52 Ancient Eight contests.
In addition to DeSimone's four goals, the Quakers also benefitted from the defensive work of defender Meg Markham, who had five caused turnovers, four ground balls and three draw controls. Markham's sister, Yale freshman defender Emily Markham, got her first career start for the Bulldogs Saturday.
Yale returns to action vs. Harvard on Saturday Mar. 22, Alumnae Day at Reese Stadium. The game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., following the Yale men's lacrosse game vs. Princeton that starts at Noon.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity