Seven Draw Controls for Daniggelis
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The weather conditions were far from ideal Wednesday afternoon as the Yale women's lacrosse team took on Sacred Heart at Reese Stadium. A driving rainstorm greeted the teams as they came out for pregame warm-ups, and it only got worse from there. That did little to slow down the Yale attack, though. With four goals each from freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis and senior attacker Devon Rhodes, the Bulldogs persevered through the soggy conditions for a 15-9 win.
"That may have been one of the worst couple hours of rain that I've ever seen," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "It was awful. Throwing and catching were affected by the wet sticks, and we had to play differently because of the rain. There was no inside passing, and not a lot of finesse lacrosse. Just drive it down and shoot it."
That style of play was fine for Daniggelis and Rhodes, each of whom at one point during the game scored by winning a draw control and driving directly down the field to fire in a goal seconds later. Daniggelis wound up with seven draw controls, the most by any Yale player since complete game-by-game records started in 2006.
"We have a number of kids that draw, but when we feel we really need a draw I put her in," said Phillips. "She's consistent, and she needs to be in those situations. She's also a really great attacker."
Yale built an 8-2 lead in the first 20 minutes as Daniggelis had two goals, Rhodes had one, junior attacker Jen DeVito had three, sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty had one and sophomore attacker Kerri Fleishhacker had one.
Doherty had a pair of assists in that span, while Fleishhacker and Rhodes had one each. Freshman midfielder Kelly Anne Sherlock also had one, passing to DeVito out of a free position attempt two minutes in to the game.
Sacred Heart (0-4, 0-0 NEC) then crept back into the game with a 3-1 run before halftime. Yale's only goal in the final 12 minutes of the half came when Fleishhacker set up freshman midfielder Lauren Wackerle at the 5:04 mark.
Yale (4-2, 0-1 Ivy League) came out of halftime firing, scoring the first four goals. Two came from Rhodes, including one that was assisted by Daniggelis, while Daniggelis and Wackerle scored as well.
After that it was just a matter of hanging on in the soggy conditions. A 4-1 run by Sacred Heart cut the Yale lead to 14-9 with 10:09 to play. Three of those Pioneer goals came from midfielder Kelsey Russo, who finished with a game-best five for the day. An unassisted goal by Rhodes, her Ivy League-leading 19th of the year, helped break up the Pioneers' run.
After the ninth Sacred Heart goal, junior defender Ashley McCormick got the draw control and the Bulldogs were able to work some time off the clock. Sacred Heart goalkeeper Kelly Keenan made a save on Fleishhacker, but Yale junior goalie Erin McMullan answered by denying a free position shot by attacker Taylor Babin with six minutes left. Rhodes set up Daniggelis for the last goal of the game, with 3:59 to play, to make the final score 15-9.
McMullan finished with six saves, including five in the second half, and now leads the Ivy League with 41 saves. Doherty led Yale with four ground balls.
Yale travels to Penn for an Ivy League game Saturday at Noon. Early forecasts call for a chance of rain, but that is unlikely to faze the Bulldogs after what they have made it through. They now have their longest winning streak since 2008, a streak that started with a win in frigid temperatures and snow last Wednesday at Bryant.
"We've played in every possible bad condition so far this year," said Phillips. "Even though today's game wasn't pretty, we have strung three wins together. This team is starting to find ways to win."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity
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