Rally at Spring Fling Comes Up Short; Bulldogs Fall to No. 7 Notre Dame 15-9

Devon Rhodes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Devon Rhodes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Hat Trick for Rhodes

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – The Yale women's lacrosse team dug itself a big hole Tuesday night against No. 7 Notre Dame at the Spring Fling Tournament at Hilltopper Stadium in Delray Beach, Fla. -- the Bulldogs found themselves trailing the Fighting Irish 10-0 after the game's first 25 minutes. But a pair of goals by junior attacker Devon Rhodes provided a spark late in the first half, and from that point on Yale outscored Notre Dame 9-5. That was not enough for a comeback, however, as the Fighting Irish came away with a 15-9 win.

Yale (2-2, 0-1 Ivy League) knew that keeping the ball away from Notre Dame's potent attack would be key, as the Fighting Irish had already scored 17 goals in a game twice. But that plan was stymied in the early going as the Bulldogs struggled to get draw controls -- and when they did get the ball, they struggled to keep it. Yale had 10 first-half turnovers, a big reason why Notre Dame was able to jump to a 10-0 lead. After four Fighting Irish goals in the first 5:07, sophomore goalkeeper Erin McMullan came on in relief of senior Whitney Quackenbush.

After the Notre Dame lead expanded to 6-0 Yale called timeout, and 10 minutes into the game the Bulldogs were finally able to run their settled attack for the first time. But a charging call ended that possession, and Notre Dame reeled off four more goals before Yale finally got on the scoreboard.

Rhodes fired one high past goalie Ellie Hilling at the 47-second mark off a feed from freshman attacker Kerri Fleishhacker, then scored again on a drive 26 seconds later after getting the ball from freshman midfielder Erin Magnuson.

A yellow card sent Rhodes to the sideline early in the second, and Notre Dame regained momentum with a three-goal run that made the score 13-2. But the Bulldogs did not give in, knowing that Notre Dame had nearly let an 8-0 lead slip away in its last game, a 14-11 win at BU. Fleishhacker and freshman midfielder Reilly Foote scored within two minutes of each other midway through the second half.

After Notre Dame responded with two goals of its own, the Bulldogs kept the Fighting Irish off the scoreboard for the final 11:15. During that time goals by Rhodes and Fleishhacker, along with senior attacker Caroline Crow, freshman midfielder Christina Doherty and sophomore midfielder Julie Mongan (set up by freshman midfielder Cathryn Avallone), kept drawing the Bulldogs closer. Doherty would finish the game with four draw controls, two ground balls and two caused turnovers to go with her goal.

But in the end time ran out on any further comeback for Yale, and Notre Dame improved to 5-0 on the season. All told, 10 different players scored for the Fighting Irish, who were led by three goals from attacker Lauren Sullivan and four assists from attacker Maggie Tamasitis.

Not all was lost for the Bulldogs, though, as they continued to maximize their week of training in Florida. After the game they spent some time with a local girl, Lily, who is part of the Friends of Jaclyn program. That program, which pairs children with brain tumors with athletic teams as a support network, is the same program that connected Yale with the team's "adoptee" back North, Alanna, two years ago.

Yale also will hold a clinic for local youth lacrosse players after its final practice in Florida Wednesday night. Several hundred fans were on hand at Tuesday night's game, many of them young lacrosse players in the Delray Beach area.

Yale returns to New Haven on Thursday and hosts Penn at Reese Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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