Four Points for Crow, Fleishhacker
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Wednesday afternoon's game vs. Bryant at Reese Stadium quickly turned into an uphill climb for the Yale women's lacrosse team, as the Bulldogs fell behind 3-0 early. But they kept chipping away at that lead, and the game turned into a see-saw battle late in the second half. With the score tied at 10 with less than five minutes to play, it was a senior-to-freshman combination that netted the game-winner. Attacker Caroline Crow, who already had a hat trick, drove in and drew the defense's attention before passing to midfielder Christina Doherty in front for the score that proved decisive as Yale came away with an 11-10 win.
"We were just trying to be patient," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "They were pressing out, and we kept changing the point of attack. They thought Caroline was going to drive, and she made an incredible feed under pressure. And Christina made a huge shot."
That was a fitting way to score the final goal in a game where Yale's offense relied heavily on teamwork. More than half of the goals Wednesday (six of 11) were assisted. And with 14 assists for the year, the Bulldogs are already half-way to their total from all of last season.
"We are much better at working off the ball this year," Phillips said. "That's creating more scoring opportunities."
Those scoring opportunities were slow to develop at first on Wednesday. Bryant scored the first three goals of the game, holding Yale scoreless for more than 10 minutes to start. But the Bulldogs quickly got back in the game when freshman midfielder Cathryn Avallone scored at 19:52, and sophomore attacker Sabine van der Linden took the draw control down and scored only nine seconds later.
"We felt that getting draw controls and scoring early would be important," Phillips said. "But instead we were down 3-0, and we shot 3-for-19 in the first half. Then we finally got a little more control."
Bryant (0-4, 0-1 NEC) extended its lead to 6-3 before Crow scored off a feed from junior attacker Devon Rhodes with 23:55 to play. After Bryant scored again just 52 seconds later, sophomore goalkeeper Erin McMullan came on in relief of senior Whitney Quackenbush.
Yale (2-1, 0-1 Ivy League) then reeled off three straight goals to tie the game 7-7. First, freshman attacker Kerri Fleishhacker drew the defense before passing to Crow for a goal. That was the first of four points on the day for Fleishhacker, all in the second half. She scored a goal of her own with 19:13 left, driving in after a foul call on Bryant created a path for her through the 8-meter arc. After Doherty got the draw control, McCormick scored to tie the game.
Bryant momentarily disrupted Yale's run with a goal by attacker Lauren Sheridan, but after a Bryant turnover the Bulldogs scored in transition. Doherty fed Avallone and the freshman delivered her second goal of the game -- making it three straight two-goal games at the start of her Yale career. She also had four draw controls and a pair of ground balls.
"Cathryn Avallone played an amazing game," Phillips said.
Fleishhacker assisted on a goal by Crow, then scored one of her own when Bryant goalkeeper Lauren Filippone got a piece of Fleishhacker's shot only to see it dribble over the goal line to make it 10-8 Yale with 10:49 to play.
But Bryant would not go quietly, as goals by midfielder Lisa Vendel and midfielder Katherine Keckeisen tied the game with six minutes to play.
"Bryant is a very scrappy team with skilled players," Phillips said. "We knew this was going to be difficult."
Filippone was the X factor, as she entered the day ranked third nationally in both saves per game (13.00) and save percentage (.542). She made a number of great stops on Wednesday, finishing with 12 saves, but the Bulldogs solved her when it mattered most thanks to Crow and Doherty's teamwork on the game-winner with 4:30 to play.
"We have to give Bryant a lot of credit," Phillips said. "Their goalkeeper played phenomenally, and we shot poorly. Those two things made it tough for us offensively. She was a very good goalie, and we hit her a lot. This was a high-pressure game where every mistake, every turnover became more highlighted."
One key turning point came with less than two minutes to play as Bryant had the ball right in front of the Yale goal looking to tie the game at 11. With two different officials calling the play differently -- one called a charge on Bryant, the other called a foul on Yale -- a throw was held to the side of the Yale goal to determine possession. McCormick grabbed the throw to get possession for the Bulldogs, and they eventually got the ball in the capable hands of Crow for the clear to run out the clock.
"Ashley's a quick, quick player," Phillips said. "She got off the mark quickly and got that 50/50 ball. At the end Caroline got the ball and pretty much stalled the game out by stick-handling. That's not how we practiced it, but it was the most effective thing we could do at the time."
Yale heads to Florida on Friday morning, where the Bulldogs will play No. 10 Notre Dame in a neutral site game on Tuesday Mar. 13 at Hilltopper Stadium in Delray Beach as part of the "Spring Fling" tournament.
The Yale All-Access video broadcast of the game is available on demand at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/yale.portal
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity