Five for Fleishhacker as Yale Edges Bryant 14-13

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Kerri Fleishhacker scores. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Rhodes Adds Three Goals and an Assist

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore attacker Kerri Fleishhacker helped the Yale women's lacrosse team build up a big lead early in the game Wednesday afternoon at Bryant, scoring four goals in the first half. Then, after Bryant had battled back to tie the game late in the second half, Fleishhacker came through again. Her free position goal with 5:59 left -- her fifth of the day -- wound up being the game-winner as Yale came away with a 14-13 victory. Senior attacker Devon Rhodes added three goals and an assist, while junior attacker Jen DeVito had four assists.

In a battle between two teams known as the Bulldogs, the weather Wednesday put both teams to the test. At some times it was raining; at some times it was snowing; at all times it was cold. Yale (2-2, 0-1 Ivy League) utilized a wide variety of offensive styles to claim an early 10-4 lead.

"We scored on the fast break, we scored on the slow break, and we scored on our settled offense," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Everything that we've been working on worked in the first half."

Bryant did not have its first offensive possession until nearly five minutes into the game, but the home team made it count. Midfielder Kimberley Sniffen put Bryant up 1-0 -- but that wound up being her team's only lead of the day.

Yale's first big run started when freshman defender Kate Walker caused a turnover and grabbed the ground ball in the Yale end. Down at the other end of the field, Fleishhacker spun off her defender in the 8-meter arc and tied the game 1-1 at 22:05.

"Kerri's a very dangerous shooter," said Phillips. "We have been trying to get her to mix up her shot selection. She is doing a better job of changing the planes on her shot. She's got a sidearm release that is tough for a goalie to read, and she's got a very hard shot."

Yale scored off another Bryant turnover two minutes later, as DeVito fed freshman midfielder Kelly Anne Sherlock in front of the cage.

Sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson got the draw control, enabling Fleishhacker to score again just 24 seconds after Sherlock's goal. And sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone chased down the next draw control, enabling Sherlock to score her second goal of the game to put Yale up 4-1 and prompt a Bryant timeout at 18:36.

Bryant stopped the Yale run with a free position goal by midfielder Lisa Vendel at the 15:04 mark. Vendel tacked on another free position goal less than a minute later to shrink Yale's lead to one before the Blue went on another run.

Junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan helped stop Bryant's momentum by denying a free position shot with less than 13 minutes to go. Yale went right down the field and scored, as Rhodes fired one in and DeVito assisted.

Fleishhacker finished off her hat trick right after she finished serving a two-minute yellow card, putting Yale up 6-3 at the 8:48 mark. A minute later, Magnuson drove and drew a double team before dishing to Fleishhacker to extend the lead to four goals. A draw control win by freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis helped Yale score again quickly, as Rhodes set up Sherlock while Bryant struggled to get its defense in place.

Rhodes created her own shot next, driving in from the side of the cage and putting Yale up 9-3 at the 6:11 mark.

Bryant then had one free position shot hit the post and another one blocked. On the third free position attempt in the sequence, the Yale defense shut down the initial drive by midfielder Kate Keckeisen but Vendel was able to take a pass and follow up with a goal that ended Yale's run at five straight goals.

Yale got right back on track with a goal at 3:47, as Daniggelis scored and DeVito assisted. But a Yale turnover enabled Bryant to score 11 seconds before halftime, pulling within 10-5.

Bryant then reeled off three goals in the first five minutes of the second before Yale began its first extended offensive possession of the half. Magnuson drove to draw Yale's first free position shot of the game and converted it into a goal at 21:46.

But Bryant (1-3, 0-0 NEC) would not go away. Three goals for the home team in a span of slightly more than four minutes left the score tied 11-11 with less than 15 minutes to play.

With the pressure mounting, Yale got a crucial free position goal from freshman midfielder Lauren Wackerle after Bryant was whistled for a three-second infraction on defense.

After Bryant tied the game again, a Yale turnover gave Bryant the chance to take the lead … but Bryant turned the ball right back over to Yale, fouling Wackerle in the process. With 10:47 to play, Rhodes buried a feed from DeVito to make it 13-12 Yale.

DeVito already has eight assists this season, just one less than she had all of last year. Rhodes is now up to 14 goals, leading the team in that category and in points (18).

After a shot by attacker Lauren Descalzo hit the post, Bryant once again tied the game when attacker Haley Bloom scored her fourth goal of the game (all in the second half) with nine minutes to play.

Bryant then got the draw control, but Wackerle caused a turnover and Yale set up on offense. Rhodes scooped up the ground ball after her own shot was denied by Bryant goalie Brianna Watt, and Yale eventually got the ball to Fleishhacker. Fleishhacker drove to goal to earn the free position shot, which she fired low past Watt to put Yale up 14-13 at 5:59.

Yale only had three free-position shots all game -- Bryant had eight -- but a three-for-three performance wound up making a difference in the game.

"Those were huge 8-meter goals from Erin Magnuson, Lauren Wackerle and Kerri Fleishhacker," said Philips. "We didn't get as many chances as Bryant did, but we needed those to win the game. They were huge pressure plays and our players delivered under pressure. They showed poise and they executed."

Fleishhacker became the third Yale player with five or more goals in a game this year, joining Rhodes (six in a 19-12 win at Quinnipiac) and Avallone (five at Quinnipiac).

After those offensive heroics, the game had to be sealed by some big defensive plays. Yale momentarily had possession of the draw control after Fleishhacker's goal, but Keckeisen came away with it for Bryant. Sniffen's sidearm shot hit the far post with four minutes to play, but Bryant maintained possession. When attacker Nicole Britton attempted a feed from behind the cage, though, McMullan intercepted it.

With 3:30 to play, Yale headed down the field and set up to run the stall. Phillips called time with 2:41 left.

"We expected Bryant to pressure, and we wanted to make sure we either had the last shot or that there were no more shots for either team," Phillips said.

Bryant began pressuring the ball carrier with 90 seconds left, resulting in a Yale turnover and a chance for the home team to tie up the score.

Bryant hurried to set up on attack, but Walker came up with a big play to end the possession. She reached out to get a piece of a pass near the 12-meter arc, knocking it to the turf. After some anxious moments with the ball loose in the Yale zone, junior defender Kallie Parchman emerged with the ground ball and quickly got it to sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty. Yale finished off the clear and ran out the final seconds for the win.

"Kate Walker made a great play knocking the ball down," said Phillips. "Kallie Parchman got the 50/50 ball and passed it to Christina Doherty, who handled the ball with great composure under a lot of pressure. Finally we killed the clock."

Yale visits Hofstra Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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

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