March 5, 2011

No. 15 Dartmouth Slips Past Yale, 9-8

DeVito, McCormick Score First Career Goals

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The signs of progress were there for the Yale women's lacrosse team Saturday afternoon against No. 15 Dartmouth at Reese Stadium, but in the end there just were not enough of them. After the Big Green jumped out to a 5-1 lead, the Bulldogs battled back and closed the deficit to just one goal at four different times in the second half. Yale could never get the equalizer, though, and Dartmouth came away with a 9-8 win.

After struggling in two non-league losses to open the season, the Bulldogs (0-3, 0-1 Ivy League) looked like a different team against their Ancient Eight foe Dartmouth (3-0, 1-0 Ivy League). It started right after Dartmouth scored the game's opening goal, as senior attacker Myra Trivellas responded less than three minutes later by curling around from behind the net and bouncing one in to tie the score. The Big Green was able to score the next four goals, but after a Yale timeout the Bulldogs began climbing back into the game near the end of the half.

A pair of free-position shots helped swing momentum in Yale's favor. First, freshman attacker Jen DeVito scored on one with 8:01 left for her first career goal. Then, junior goalie Whitney Quackenbush made a save on a Dartmouth shot after midfielder Sarah Plumb used a free position to feed attacker Sarah Parks right in front of the net. Quackenbush got low to stop that shot, and when DeVito scored again off a feed from sophomore midfielder Devon Rhodes, the Bulldogs trailed just 5-3 heading into halftime.

DeVito scored again at the start of the second half, this time assisted by junior attacker Caroline Crow. After the Big Green went back ahead by two, another freshman scored her first career goal for the Bulldogs. This time it was midfielder Ashley McCormick, who got Yale within 6-5 with 22:41 to play.

That prompted a Dartmouth timeout, and after Trivellas sent a shot wide with the chance to tie the game, the Big Green scored the next two and Yale missed a pair of free-position shots. With 10 minutes left, Crow got Yale back on track with an unassisted goal. After a Dartmouth free-position shot hit the post, McCormick pulled Yale within one by scoring off a spin move inside the 8-meter arc.

Sophomore defender Brittany De Lea got the ensuing draw control, but after Crow sent a shot high a turnover lead to Dartmouth scoring to go up 9-7 with 3:45 to play. Yale again called time, and when freshman midfielder Adrienne Tarver chased down a bouncing draw control the Bulldogs took advantage. Rhodes hit senior midfielder/defender Kaitlyn Flatley in stride right in front of the net, and Flatley fired in her first goal of the season to make it 9-8 Dartmouth with 2:53 to play.

Dartmouth got the draw control and began working down the clock. But when attacker Greta Meyer saw the chance for an open shot right in front of the net she took it -- and it nearly proved costly. Quackenbush made the save, and senior defender Fielding Kidd came away with the ground ball. That gave Yale a chance to start a clear with just over a minute to play, but a turnover in the midfield put the Bulldogs right back on defense. McCormick was able to cause a turnover and Tarver grabbed the ground ball with 10 seconds to play, but at that point all the Bulldogs could do was fling a pair of long-distance passes that eventually got the ball to DeVito far away from the goal, where she could not get off a solid shot as time expired.

For Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, Saturday's effort bodes well for the remainder of the season. She rattled off a list of statistical goals she had given the team in various categories before the game, and -- much like the final score -- the Bulldogs came close to all of them.

"We played hard and executed well," Phillips said. "I'm pleased with how they played. We made some adjustments on the draw, we made some adjustments on the attack and we made some adjustments defensively. Whitney made some good saves."

Among the adjustments Yale made was in the midfield circle, where freshman attacker Meghan Murray took all the draw controls for the first time. As a result -- after losing 15 of 24 draws in Wednesday's 18-4 loss to BC -- Yale won nine of 19 draws Saturday.

"Meghan Murray did a great job on the draw," Phillips said. "Dartmouth draws to [attacker] Kat Collins and when she gets it it's tough. She didn't get any draws today. Meghan did a great job of getting the ball the other way. That was a big part of the game plan."

Murray was just one part of the youth movement that also included the first career goals for DeVito and McCormick. At the end of the game, when the Yale attack set up with a chance for the crucial game-tying goal, six of the seven players below the restraining line for the Bulldogs were either freshmen or sophomores. Trivellas was the lone senior.

"They're coming along every day," Phillips said. "But you can't teach experience. We made such a big step from the BC game. I'm really proud of them. This was anybody's game, and Dartmouth is one of the top teams in the country, with a lot of veterans. We gave them all they could handle."

Yale heads to No. 10 James Madison for a game next Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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

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