April 23, 2010

No. 14 Hoyas Play Spoiler on Senior Night, Beat Bulldogs 15-4

Class of 2010 Honored

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale was looking to deliver one more highlight for the Class of 2010 on Senior Night at Reese Stadium Friday against No. 14 Georgetown. All seven seniors started and one of them, attacker Jessica Sturgill, led the team with a pair of goals. But in the end, the Hoyas' attack was too much, as Georgetown put together a 6-1 run at the start of the game en route to a 15-4 win.

Georgetown (9-5, 6-0 Big East) scored the first four goals of the game, but Sturgill stopped that run with a goal at 19:33. After the Hoyas scored again two minutes later the Bulldogs called timeout, but Georgetown scored three of the next four goals to take an 8-2 lead into halftime. Freshman midfielder Kristen Chapman had Yale's second goal, driving through the eight-meter fan to score at 10:14.

The start of the second half saw a scary moment as Georgetown defender Blake Sheehan crumpled to the turf and eventually left the game with an injury at 26:19. After the re-start Sturgill took the ball in from the midfield and got off a shot that Hoya goalie Caitlin Formby saved. The Hoyas got the ball and extended their lead with a goal from attacker Sarah Seats at 24:55 and one from midfielder Bunny O'Reilly two minutes later.

Down 10-2, Yale (6-8, 3-3 Ivy League) tried piecing together a run in response. Sophomore attacker Caroline Crow drove in from the right wing to score at 20:13, and two minutes later Sturgill took advantage of a Georgetown foul to drive in from the left for her 15th goal of the season.

But the Hoyas answered back with goals from attacker Molly Ford -- her 39th of the year -- and midfielder Sophia Thomas in a span of one minute halfway through the second. The Yale defense slowed the Hoyas down after that, but the Bulldogs were unable to get any shots to drop at the other end of the field. Georgetown scored three times in the final 6:34 to get to 15 goals -- the first time in the last five games that the Hoyas scored fewer than 17 goals in a game.

Sophomore goalie Whitney Quackenbush finished with 10 saves, while Formby had 14. The Hoyas outshot the Bulldogs 36-20, but were just 3-for-9 on free positions. This was Georgetown's sixth win in a row.

For Yale, the loss spoiled a night that was designed to recognize the contributions of the senior class: Sturgill, attacker Jenna Block, midfielder Sarah David, attacker Lindsey DeMarco, defender Claire Eliasberg, defender Michele Fiorentino and midfielder Natalie Reid. All seven saw significant action Friday night, and Eliasberg tied Quackenbush for the team high in ground balls with three while Fiorentino had a pair of caused turnovers.

In addition to celebrating the seniors, Yale was also holding “Friends of Jaclyn” night. The team wore t-shirts in honor of the program, which raises pediatric brain tumor awareness and pairs college teams with young cancer patients. The Bulldogs' adoptee, Alanna, was on the sideline with the team and even dyed her hair Yale blue to show her support.

With at least one more game to go Yale's seven seniors have seen the program through a period of dramatic transition, including three head coaches and two different facilities. Symbolically, the progress in the construction at Reese Stadium has been more and more evident with each passing game this year. A concrete structure is now starting to rise out of the foundation, and someday soon the names of the members of the Class of 2010 will be displayed at Reese along with those of every other former Bulldog. As freshmen, they were part of a run to the NCAA Tournament that saw Yale win nine games in a row at the end of the regular season to earn an at-large berth. Now, as seniors, they need just one more win -- at Cornell on Sunday -- to earn a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.

“They started out as a group of seven, and they're finishing as a group of seven,” Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, said. “They have persevered. Transitions are always difficult, but they have helped to put this program in position to so some very special things. They have worked hard to push themselves and their teammates.”

With a win on Sunday Yale would be one of four teams in the Ivy League Tournament, which starts with the semifinals next Friday night at Penn. The winners of the two semifinals will play on Sunday, May 2, to determine who gets the Ivy League's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“The seniors are part of the reason why we go to Cornell on Sunday in position to control our own destiny,” Phillips said. “We need to focus on taking care of business on Sunday, because while it's the end of the regular season it could be the beginning of the next season -- a two-game season that could take us to the NCAA Tournament.”

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

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