Roster Heavy with Freshmen and Sophomores
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The roster includes 19 freshmen and sophomores and just five junior and seniors, but the Yale women's lacrosse team aims to make growing pains a thing of the past in 2012. Entering the fourth season with Anne Phillips as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, the Bulldogs' upperclassmen will be counted on for leadership as their talented young counterparts mature into their roles. The Bulldogs will also hope for better luck in terms of injuries, as last season only eight players were healthy enough to play every game.
With the top four scorers and a veteran goalkeeper returning from last year, Yale figures to challenge for a spot in the Ivy League tournament -- and the chance to claim the automatic NCAA Tournament bid that goes along with winning that tournament.
Here is a position-by-position look at the team heading into the 2012 season:
3 players (1 senior, 1 sophomore, 1 freshman)
1 returning starter from 2011
Senior Whitney Quackenbush has a tremendous amount of experience in goal, with three years as a starter -- including an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection two years ago. She made 10 or more saves in a game three times last season, including a game vs. Princeton where she stopped 18 of 27 shots. She finished with a .447 save percentage, and was on a roll at the end of the year (40 saves on 80 shots in the final five games).
Sophomore Erin McMullan, an honorable mention All-American in high school, got her feet wet last year with more than 200 minutes as a freshman. She posted a .432 save percentage.
Adding to the depth in goal -- and perhaps creating some confusion with names -- is another Erin, Erin Mullins (Garden City, N.Y.). Mullins, whose sister Caitlin played field hockey and lacrosse at Yale's Ivy League rival Columbia, won four straight New York State Class B Championships at Garden City.
6 players (1 junior, 3 sophomores, 2 freshmen)
2 returning starters from 2011
Junior Chloë Drimal provides a veteran presence on defense, and she is the team's tallest defender (6'0"). She started 11 games as a freshman but missed last season due to injury.
A trip of sophomores includes two returning starters, giving the Bulldogs an unusual amount of experience in such a young group. Kallie Parchman played in all 15 games and started 11, and five of her seven ground balls for the season came in the final six games. Katherine Sherrill appeared in one game, the 10-7 win over Colgate. Adrienne Tarver, a two-time All-American in high school, started 14 games and displayed an ability to contribute at both ends of the field. In addition to finishing fourth on the team in points (6-3-9), she also finished third in caused turnovers (10) and fifth in ground balls (17).
The freshman class includes Clare Curran (Alexandria, Va.) and Jayne Flynn (Baltimore, Md.). Curran was an Under Armour All-American, US Lacrosse All-American, All-ISL, all-state and first team All-Met in 2011 for St. Stephen's and St. Agnes. Flynn captained her high school team at Towson and won a Club National Championship with Skywalkers in 2010.
9 players (1 junior, 3 sophomores, 5 freshmen)
1 returning starter from 2011
Yale will be counting on underclassmen to contribute in a big way in the midfield, and fortunately there are a lot of them. The lone upperclassman is junior Kristen Chapman. She started 14 games as a freshman, finishing second on the team in draw controls (18) and tied for fourth in ground balls (14). But she was limited to five starts last season due to injury.
The sophomore midfield class includes Ashley McCormick, Julie Mongan and Courteney Rutter. McCormick, one of the quickest Bulldogs, hustled her way to 14 ground balls for the season and had a hat trick in the win over Colgate. Mongan played in 13 games, scoring a goal in her first collegiate game. Rutter was hampered by injury for much of the year, but showed signs of her offensive potential in the final four games with nine shots and a pair of goals.
The freshman midfielders are Cathryn Avallone (Manhasset, N.Y.), Christina Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.), Reilly Foote (Newton, Mass.), Erin Magnuson (Northport, N.Y.) and Emily Rutland (Madison, N.J.).
Avallone, one of three Bulldogs from Manhasset High, was a two-time all-county selection. Doherty, whose family includes three generations of lacrosse players from Yale's Ivy League rival Princeton, led her Kent Place team in assists, draw controls and ground balls and was second on team with 44 goals as a senior. Foote captained three teams at Noble & Greenough, where her lacrosse team won the ISL in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Magnuson, one of three Erins on the Yale roster (and the only one that is not a goalie), was all-county in lacrosse as a senior at Northport High. Rutland captained her Madison High team and led the team in assists as a junior and as a senior.
6 players (1 senior, 1 junior, 3 sophomores, 1 freshman)
3 returning starters from last season
Senior Caroline Crow, Yale's captain, is a leader by example who has persevered through a series of injuries. She earned Yale's most improved player award as a sophomore, when she bounced back from an injury to start nine games and score 12 goals. She matched that goal total in 11 games last season (all starts) but was denied the chance to improve upon it when she missed the final four games with an injury. Having her back on the field will greatly improve Yale's attack, and she is a key part of Yale's ride as well.
Junior Devon Rhodes has led the team in goals and points each of her first two seasons, making her just the fourth player in school history to accomplish that feat (joining Eva Vishio '93, Amanda Walton '02 and Lauren Taylor '08). In addition to her 20 points last year (16-4-20), she also led the team with 18 draw controls. Rhodes was a second team All-Ivy League selection as a freshman.
After a slow start due to an injury, sophomore Jen DeVito showed more and more of the form that made her a high school All-American as the 2011 season wore on. She finished second on the team in goals and point (15-3-18), and scored at least one goal in seven of the final eight games of the year. She also proved to be one of Yale's most accurate shooters from the 8-meter arc, scoring on four of her five free position shots.
Meghan Murray is another high school All-American who developed into more of an offensive threat as her freshman season at Yale wore on. She capped the year with a hat trick in the season-ending 14-10 win over Stony Brook, finishing the season with seven points.
Sabine van der Linden, who has trained for England's U-19 World Cup team, is Yale's tallest attacker at 6'0". That height makes her particularly effective on the draw control, where she finished tied for second on the team last year (14 draws). She appeared in nine games, starting seven.
The lone freshman attacker, Kerri Fleishhacker (Manhasset, N.Y.), brings impressive credentials as she joins former Manhasset teammates Avallone and Quackenbush at Yale. She was picked for the Under Armour All-American senior tournament and the ESPN All-American Senior Rise tournament. Fleishhacker also had the benefit of training with Taylor, the former Yale All-American who is also from Manhasset.
Yale opens the 2012 season vs. Holy Cross Saturday at 11 a.m. at Reese Stadium. Five games against teams that were nationally ranked at the end of last season, and four against teams that made last year's NCAA Tournament, highlight the 2012 schedule. The 15-game slate includes seven Ivy League games and eight non-league games. This also marks the third year for the Ivy League women's lacrosse tournament, in which the top four teams in the final standings play for the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity