March 12, 2011

Comeback Lifts Yale to First Win, 11-8 Over Marist

DeVito Nets Game-Winner

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The first win of the season for the Yale women's lacrosse team came in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion Saturday afternoon against Marist at Reese Stadium. The Bulldogs fell behind 7-3 in the first half, and after they rallied to tie the game at seven in the second half the Red Foxes briefly re-took the lead 8-7. But Yale scored the final four goals of the game, including the game-winner from freshman attacker Jen DeVito with 6:51 to play, for an 11-8 win.

The first half was dominated by runs from each team. The Bulldogs started out with a 3-1 advantage thanks to goals from sophomore midfielder Kelsea Smith, junior attacker Caroline Crow and sophomore midfielder Devon Rhodes, who buried a feed from senior defender Mahi Trivellas in transition at 19:31 to put the Bulldogs up by two.

But Marist (2-3, 0-0 MAAC) answered with a six-goal run that put the Red Foxes up 7-3. Marist's seventh goal was a particularly frustrating one, as a shot by midfielder Jori Procaccini bounced in off the post as part of her four-goal day.

But Rhodes, en route to a four-goal day of her own, started answering back for Yale late in the second half. A pair of goals from her in the final 3:12 pulled Yale within 7-5 at halftime.

One key adjustment Yale made midway through the first half was having Rhodes take the draws, and she made that pay dividends right at the start of the second half. She won the draw to herself, raced down and scored just 11 seconds in to get Yale within 7-6.

"The most important goal of the game was that one at the beginning of the second half," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Devon drew it to herself, shot and scored. That set the tone for the second half."

A save by junior goalie Whitney Quackenbush on a Marist free-position shot was followed by a clear from senior defender Fielding Kidd, and that enabled Crow to tie the game at seven with 19:23 left.

Quackenbush denied another Marist free position with 15:30 to play, but a minute later the Red Foxes caught Yale in transition for a goal by midfielder Jamie Romano.

Free positions then swung momentum back in Yale's favor. First one by Procaccini hit the post. Then, senior attacker Myra Trivellas scored on one to tie the score with 8:21 to play.

The game-winner came after senior midfielder Logan Greer caused a turnover and freshman midfielder Adrienne Tarver grabbed the ground ball. That enabled Crow to set up DeVito to put Yale up 9-8.

Playing with a lead late in the game for the first time, the Bulldogs retained their composure. Senior midfielder Kaitlyn Flatley got the draw after DeVito's goal, and Yale worked some time off the clock before Crow drove in to complete her hat trick with 5:21 to play. Smith then got the draw and Yale began running down the clock. Marist got a turnover but was unable to complete the clear, and with Red Foxes goalie Ashley Casiano out of position freshman midfielder Ashley McCormick could not resist the temptation to shoot, putting one in to the empty net to make it 11-8 with 2:15 to play. Rhodes got the final draw, helping seal the victory.

"Towards the end, our goal was to possess the ball for a good period of time and then score," said Phillips. "Using the clock and then scoring is something we consistently talk about. Today was our first chance to get some game experience in the stall. We did not execute it beautifully, but we did execute it well enough."

Rhodes now has eight goals against Marist in the last two years, both Yale wins.

Yale had a season-high 26 shots Saturday, and had fewer turnovers than its opponent (12, compared to 15 for Marist) for the first time all year.

"We got some good scoring opportunities, and had a better shooting percentage than we have had recently," said Phillips. "We'd like to cut our turnovers down to the 9-to-11 per game range, and we're getting closer to that. Part of that comes from the fact that we've played some of the top teams in the country in the early part of the season."

The win gives Yale (1-4, 0-1 Ivy League) some much-needed momentum heading into a crucial game next Saturday at No. 4 Penn, the defending Ivy League champion.

"It was good to come from behind and get a win," said Phillips. "We still have some work to do."

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