April 3, 2010

Eight is Enough: Rhodes’ Huge Day Helps Yale to 17-13 Win Over Harvard

Freshman Has Most Goals in a Game by a Yale Player in 10 Years

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Some players perform their best in rivalry games, when the stakes are high. Early indications are that Yale freshman midfielder Devon Rhodes is that type of player. Rhodes scored eight goals to lead Yale to a 17-13 win over Harvard Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium. That was the most goals in a game by a Yale player in 10 years, and the performance highlighted a win that boosts the Bulldogs’ chances of making the inaugural Ivy League tournament.

Rhodes was just one of many contributors that made Saturday the best offensive day in the Bulldogs’ two years under Anne Phillips, Yale’s Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse. Senior attacker Jenna Block chipped in one goal and five assists, while sophomore attacker Caroline Crow had a hat trick. Senior defender Michele Fiorentino led Yale defensively, causing three turnovers and adding three ground balls. She also had a pair of draw controls.

Yale (5-6, 2-2 Ivy League) never trailed in the game. Block got the scoring started, driving the crease and earning a free position shot that she buried at 27:21. After Harvard tied the game on a Melanie Baskind goal 90 seconds later, the Bulldogs quickly began taking control. A free position goal by junior midfielder/defender Kaitlyn Flatley started a three-goal run that also included Block setting up Rhodes and senior attacker Jessica Sturgill. Yale’s 4-1 lead caused Harvard to make a change in goal eight minutes in, substituting Kerry Clark for Katherine Martino.

Clark made a pair of saves right off the bat, and when Jen VanderMeulen scored at 17:15 to pull the Crimson within 4-2 it looked like Harvard might make a run. But freshman midfielder Kristen Chapman got the draw control and junior attacker Myra Trivellas set up Crow for a goal just 30 seconds later.

That prompted a Harvard timeout, but it was also the start of a remarkable nine-goal run for the Bulldogs that would spill over into the start of the second half.  Rhodes accounted for four of those goals, while Sturgill and junior midfielder Logan Greer had one each. Crow scored a pair in the final 97 seconds of the half to put an exclamation mark on the best 30 minutes of the season for the Bulldogs. In addition to outscoring Harvard 11-2, Yale was 9-for-9 on clears and did not have a single turnover. The Yale defense would wind up limiting VanderMeulen, who came in with 29 goals, to just one in the first 40 minutes of the game as the Bulldogs built up their big lead.

But Harvard (4-5, 1-3 Ivy League) regrouped shortly after Rhodes made it 13-2. Midfielder Danielle Tetreault’s free position goal with 22:40 left started a four-goal run by the Crimson that cut Yale’s lead to 13-6 in a span of less than six minutes. Senior defender Claire Eliasberg helped put an end to that run by causing a turnover after Harvard got the next draw control, but the Bulldogs started getting hit with yellow cards that took off four of the team’s best defenders -- Eliasberg,  Fiorentino, Flatley and junior defender Fielding Kidd -- in a span of just over six minutes.

The Bulldogs weathered that storm by getting three goals from Rhodes while Harvard scored three goals of its own between 9:29 and 4:39. Rhodes’ sixth goal of the game came on a free position, and her seventh came after freshman defender Chloe Drimal got the draw control after a Harvard goal. Rhodes’ eighth goal of the game, and team-leading 24th of the season, came after she got a draw control of her own and drove the field for a quick score.

Trailing 16-9, the Crimson started another rally. VanderMeulen scored her fourth and fifth goals of the game as part of a 4-0 run that brought Harvard within 16-13 with 2:51 to play.

Block’s six points on the day give her 16 points in her last four games. But one of her biggest contributions Saturday was a crucial draw control. It came after Harvard’s 13th goal, and enabled the Bulldogs to establish possession in the Crimson end and run down the clock. Yale did not give Harvard another chance to touch the ball, as Flatley scored on a free position with two seconds left and Sturgill got the draw control to run out the clock.

Yale has now won 14 of the last 16 meetings with Harvard. Sophomore goalie Whitney Quackenbush finished with eight saves, while Clark made nine for Harvard.

Prior to Rhodes, the last Yale player to score eight goals in a game was Amanda Walton ’02, who scored eight in a 16-3 win over Notre Dame Apr. 15, 2000. The NCAA record for goals in a game is 12.

The Bulldogs play at No. 17 Princeton next Saturday. The Tigers’ 11-8 loss to Cornell on Saturday tightened up the Ivy League standings considerably, as Dartmouth and Penn are the only remaining undefeated teams at 3-0 each in the league. Princeton is now 2-1, while Cornell and Yale are 2-2. The top four teams make the Ivy League Tournament, which determines the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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

Highlights by Sam Dorward '13, Yale Sports Publicity