2009 Outlook: Bulldogs Building for Past, Present and Future

Feb. 24, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A new coaching staff. A new home facility. It's easy to see why there is a sense of great anticipation for the 2009 Yale women's lacrosse season, which gets underway Wednesday at Fairfield (3:30 p.m., Live Stats, Pay-per-view Video). The Bulldogs' move to Reese Stadium under the new staff is heavy with symbolism. While paying tribute to the team's storied past -- the names of every former Yale player will be displayed at the facility once renovations are complete -- the Bulldogs also feel that they are building a bright future for the program on the field.

Anne Phillips, Yale's new Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, brings a 93-24 record (.795) to New Haven and a propensity for developing All-Americans (18 in six seasons at Franklin & Marshall). She has assembled a staff that includes three recent graduates from nationally ranked programs who have a combined 15 games of NCAA Tournament experience. Brigid Strain (JMU '07) will work with the defense, Kendall McBrearty (Virginia '08) will work with the goalies and Lauren Taylor (Yale '08) will work with the midfielders. Phillips, who coached six of F&M's top 10 all-time scorers, will oversee the offense.

Here is a look at the team, position by position:

Midfield

The only seniors on the team, captain Taylor Fragapane and Jenn Warden, anchor the midfield unit. Fragapane is a key to Yale's transition game with her speed and quickness. She was fourth on the team in ground balls last season with 13 while also scoring a career-high 15 goals and causing 10 turnovers. Warden, a second team All-Region and All-Ivy League pick, is the top returning scorer (26-6-32) and should see plenty of attention from opposing defenses. One of the best two-way players in the league, Warden led the Ivies in caused turnovers (29) and was tied for second in ground balls (36). She also led the team in draw controls (37) and should be a major factor on those again this season.

The junior midfielders bring different skills to the position. Sarah David is capable of being an asset at both ends of the field and should be helpful in gaining draw controls. Natalie Reid's speed will help in transition, and she also brings intangibles in the form of leadership ability.

The sophomore midfielders are a large and talented group. Kaitlyn Flatley is one of the most versatile players on the team, with the stick skills and ability to play a multitude of positions. The plan is to utilize her combination of defensive aptitude and scoring potential in the midfield. Logan Greer brings a tremendous amount of athleticism and speed to the position; the Bulldogs will wait until she's done playing as Yale's No. 1 squash player before she rejoins the team. Augusta Hixon has made tremendous strides thanks to her work ethic, and her speed and quickness will help in transition. Ariana Papier saw action in nine games last season and has the ability to emerge as a major scoring threat while also developing defensively. Mahi Trivellas adds speed, quickness and tenacity to the midfield unit.

The freshmen midfielders, Winnie Call (Moorestown, N.J.) and Erin Velez (Phoenix, Md.), both come from top high school programs (Call from Moorestown and Velez from Notre Dame Prep) and will complement the veterans nicely.

Attack

There are no senior attackers, but the Bulldogs believe the junior attackers can provide ample scoring punch. Jenna Block figures to be a quarterback of the offense, and in addition to setting her teammates up for goals the Bulldogs also look for her to put a few in the net herself. She had seven goals in 12 games last season, third among Yale's returning players. Lindsey DeMarco is an elusive attacker with a powerful shot whose game sense and tactical knowledge enable her to maximize her contributions. Jessica Sturgill is capable of a breakout year. At 5-foot-10 she is Yale's tallest field player, and she is second among Yale's returners in scoring (15-4-19). She, Fragapane and Warden are the only returners to have started all 16 games last year.

Speedy sophomore Myra Trivellas, Mahi's twin sister, has made a big move and could become an offensive contributor on attack. Her speed makes her a key part of Yale's ride as well.

Three freshmen add to the attack. Caroline Crow (Davidson, Md.) has the potential to be a major contributor, bringing great stick skills and athleticism. Kerry Hamill (Marriottsville, Md.)'s combination of game sense and work ethic should enable her to step in immediately. And like the other freshmen attackers (Crow from Severn and Hamill from McDonogh), Kelsey Merghart (Basking Ridge, N.J.) comes from a top-notch high school program (Oak Knoll) and can contribute offensively.

Defense

The junior class includes a talented trio of defenders who will be counted on for leadership. Claire Eliasberg emerged as one of the team's most reliable players last season, committing just one turnover and earning the most improved player award. She appeared in 14 games, starting 11. She will be counted on to mark some of the top attackers in the league. Michele Fiorentino is capable of being a dominant defender and is a vocal leader on the field. She has 32 games' worth of experience over the last two years.

Sophomore defender Fielding Kidd has stepped up and will be a big part of Yale's defensive scheme. The Bulldogs also believe that freshman defender Anne Brockmeyer (Bel Air, Md.) has the potential to be an impact player some day.

Goalies

With Ellen Cameron '08 graduated, the Bulldogs will have a new goalie for the first time since 2006. Sophomore Katie Janian, a former U.S. U-19 goalie, appeared in four games last season and has the talent to become the latest in a long line of goaltending standouts for the Bulldogs. Freshman Whitney Quackenbush (Manhasset, N.Y.) is also capable of challenging for a role. At 5-foot-10, Quackenbush is an intimidating presence in goal and also has athleticism.

Schedule
The 16-game 2009 schedule includes seven Ivy League games and nine non-league games that take the Bulldogs to a total of eight different states. Yale, which ended last season ranked No. 17 in the country, plays six nationally ranked teams and five teams that made the NCAA tournament. The season opener is Feb. 25 at Fairfield, and the home opener -- Yale's first game at Reese Stadium -- is March 11. The Bulldogs open Ivy League play at Penn on Mar. 14.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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