First Road Trip Takes Yale to UMass Wednesday

Jessica Sturgill. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jessica Sturgill. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Topped Minutewomen 7-4 in New Haven Last Year

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's lacrosse team makes its first road trip of the season Wednesday afternoon, heading to UMass for a 4 p.m. game vs. the Minutewomen. The Bulldogs have won 10 in a row in the series, including a 7-4 win last year that included two goals each from junior midfielder Logan Greer (Berwyn, Pa.) and senior attacker Jessica Sturgill (Ellicott City, Md.).

The Bulldogs and the Minutewomen have met 21 times since the series started in 1978. UMass won the first 11 games of the series, including a 6-5 overtime game when the two teams met in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 1984. The Bulldogs snapped that streak with a 17-7 win in 1989 that started the 10-game winning streak they bring into Wednesday's meeting.

Yale (1-2, 0-0 Ivy League) fell to James Madison 10-4 on Saturday at Reese Stadium, as the Dukes scored the final five goals of the game to pull away after freshman midfielder Kelsea Smith (Yardley, Pa.) got Yale within 5-4 by scoring her first career goal with 19:52 to play. Eight of Yale's 17 goals this season have come from freshmen, including a team-high five from midfielder Devon Rhodes (E. Northport, N.Y.). The freshmen also have eight of 25 draw controls, including a team-high five from midfielder Kristen Chapman (Belmont, Mass.).

Sophomore goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush (Manhasset, N.Y.) made 14 saves in last year's game vs. UMass, and she has reached double figures in saves in all three games this year (five games in a row including the end of last season). She has a .554 save percentage for the season, including stopping 10 of 18 free position shots. Senior defender Michele Fiorentino (Berwyn, Pa.) leads the Yale defense with five caused turnovers, while senior defender Claire Eliasberg (San Diego, Calif.), the team captain, leads with eight ground balls.

UMass (2-4, 0-0 Atlantic 10) has lost three games in a row, but by a combined total of just five goals -- and two of those games were against ranked opponents.  Midfielder Jesse O'Donnell leads the team in points with 14, all on goals. She has scored in every game this season, including a five-goal effort in a 15-6 win vs. Holy Cross and three more in an 18-8 win at UConn. Five-foot-two midfielder Jackie Lyons, a first team All-Atlantic 10 pick last year, has contributed 10 goals and three assists.

Katie Florence, who had four saves in last year's game, has a .426 save percentage and a 10.68 goals-against average. Midfielder Merritt Cosgrove leads the team in caused turnovers with seven.

The Minutewomen have received some extra attention this season due to the addition of assistant coach Amanda Belichick to head coach Alexis Venechanos' staff. Belichick, a 2007 Wesleyan graduate who coached at Choate Rosemary Hall the previous two seasons, is the daughter of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity