Sophomore Goalie Stops Five of Six Free Position Shots
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Yale women’s lacrosse team was looking to establish some momentum for Ivy League play Saturday afternoon in the last of five straight non-league games to start the season. The Bulldogs did just that, edging Marist 9-8 on a cold and rainy day at Tenney Stadium for their second win of the year. Freshman midfielder Devon Rhodes had a hand in five of Yale’s tallies, with four goals and one assist. Sophomore goalie Whitney Quackenbush anchored the defense with 10 saves, limiting the Red Foxes to just a 1-for-6 performance on free position shots.
“Whitney played an amazing game,” said Anne Phillips, Yale’s Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse. “Without Whitney, I don’t know if we win this game. She played very well in the cage, and made some key stops at some key times. She stepped up.”
Yale (2-3, 0-0 Ivy League) finished with a season high in goals thanks also to the first career hat trick from junior attacker Myra Trivellas, who scored the game-winner with 6:56 to play. All told, seven different Bulldogs had at least one point.
“Other people are starting to get involved in the offense,” Phillips said. “That was a positive. The offense helped win the game today.”
Quackenbush made a series of saves in the opening minutes, and when the Bulldogs got the ball on attack they immediately converted. Rhodes drove to the cage and scored despite being fouled to give Yale a 1-0 lead at 27:30. But midfielder Amanda Tuck scored right after that to tie the game 1-1.
Quackenbush denied a pair of free position shots by Marist (2-2, 0-0 MAAC) in a two-minute span, but the Bulldogs missed out on one of their own when Rhodes false-started. Red Fox midfielder Jori Procaccini broke the free position drought by scoring on one at 20:13.
Rhodes answered that goal immediately, spinning her way past a defender after a pass from freshman midfielder Kristen Chapman to tie the game 2-2 at 19:24. Senior attacker Jessica Sturgill just missed putting Yale ahead two minutes later, hitting the post. The Bulldogs eventually took the lead at 12:07 when sophomore midfielder Winnie Call buried a feed from behind the cage by Sturgill.
Trivellas drove and drew a foul which she converted into a free position goal at 10:49 for a 4-2 lead, Yale’s largest lead since an 8-5 win in the season opener. After Marist hit the post, Red Fox goalie Alyssa Littin made a nice save on Sturgill in front after a pass from sophomore attacker Caroline Crow.
Goals by Procaccini and attacker Ariel Kramer in the final 2:46 of the half left the score 4-4 at the break.
Quackenbush stopped a point-blank attempt from attacker Shannon Haas a minute into the second, but shortly after that Tuck was able to give the Red Foxes a 5-4 lead with her eighth goal of the season.
Rhodes then swung the see-saw battle in Yale’s favor, first by setting up Sturgill for a goal at 25:08 and then by scoring on a free position shot at 24:15 to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead. A wide-open Tuck then scored to tie the game with 23:33 left, but after Quackenbush stopped yet another free position attempt the Bulldogs went back on top. Rhodes drove to the goal for her team-high 10th tally of the season at 21:04, and shortly after that Crow caused a turnover and set up Trivellas for a goal that gave Yale an 8-6 lead with 18:55 to play.
The Red Foxes called time, but turned the ball over with a charge right after that. They did get closer on a goal by midfielder Erin Wilson with 16:43 to play, and then got the sixth tie of the game when Kramer scored with 7:45 to play.
The game-winner for Yale came less than a minute later, as Rhodes got the draw control and senior attacker Jenna Block fed Trivellas from behind the cage.
“Jenna Block came in and settled the offense down,” Phillips said. “We knew when it was a tight game that we needed her to quarterback the offense.”
Littin made a save on Trivellas with less than five minutes to play, but the Red Foxes turned the ball over on a dangerous shot call with 3:37 left. After that the Bulldogs went into a stall to run out the clock, but came up just short when they turned the ball over with 51 seconds left. But under pressure to get a shot off the Red Foxes turned it over on a drive in front of the Yale cage. Quackenbush scooped up the loose ball and got it to senior defender Claire Eliasberg, who ran out the final seconds for the win.
“We did a good job on the stall,” Phillips said. “We wanted to kill the clock as much as possible, or put pressure on them to score with very little time left. We knew we could count on Whitney.”
The Bulldogs were playing without one of their top defenders, as senior Michele Fiorentino was sidelined by illness. They wound up getting contributions from a number of other players at both ends of the field.
“[Senior midfielder] Natalie Reid went in there and played solidly with Michele out,” said Phillips. “That changed the defensive dynamic. [Senior midfielder] Sarah David helped in transition. We got some minutes for other players, and hopefully the more people we get involved, the more weapons we have in Ivy League play.”
The Bulldogs host Brown Wednesday at 4 p.m.