Bulldogs, Crimson Each Seek First League Win
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In a rivalry where the teams are 20-20-1 against each other dating back to their first meeting (1975, when Yale was a club team), there is an added subplot for Saturday's 1:00 p.m. meeting in Cambridge, Mass., between Yale and Harvard in women's lacrosse. Both teams are seeking their first league win as they play their third league game. With only the top four teams in the final standings advancing to the Ivy League tournament at the end of the year, the Bulldogs and the Crimson each enter Saturday's game looking for a victory to provide much-needed momentum heading into the latter half of the schedule.
Yale (4-3, 0-2 Ivy League) had a three-game winning streak after dropping its Ivy opener to Dartmouth. But that streak was snapped with a 12-8 league loss at Penn Saturday, leaving the Bulldogs 0-2 in the league along with Columbia and Harvard. Cornell and Penn -- the league's only 2-0 teams -- meet Sunday in Philadelphia, so there is guaranteed to be some change at the top of the Ivy standings.
Freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis (St. James, N.Y.) provided some individual highlights for Yale in the game against Penn. She continued her torrid run by scoring six goals and nabbing five draw controls, giving her 10 goals and 12 draws in her last two games.
Senior attacker Devon Rhodes (E. Northport, N.Y.) enters the weekend third in the Ivy League in goals and second in points (19-9-28). She has already achieved a personal best in assists with nine this season, and she is eight away from her high in goals. Her streak of six straight games with a goal to start the season was snapped at Penn, but she kept her point-scoring streak intact by getting a pair of assists. She has a history of success against Harvard, including eight goals in Yale's 17-13 win over the Crimson her freshman year.
Junior attacker Jen DeVito (Wading River, N.Y.) is second in the league with 10 assists, a career high for her. She and Rhodes are the team's only players with at least one point in every game this year.
Sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson (Northport, N.Y.) has also been re-writing her personal record book. With nine goals, four assists and 13 points, she has already bested her totals in all three of those categories from a year ago (6-2-8). Among Bulldogs with 15 or more shots, Magnuson has the second-best shooting percentage on the team (.529), trailing only DeVito's .579 mark.
Junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan (Wading River, N.Y.) leads the Ivy League in saves with 48 and has a .378 save percentage. Her career save percentage in league games is .519.
Yale has two players in the top nine in the Ancient Eight in draw controls, with Daniggelis fourth (21) and sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) ninth (16). Doherty has at least one draw control in every game this year, including a season high of five in the win at Quinnipiac. She is tied for fifth in the league with 15 ground balls, while junior defender Adrienne Tarver (Pikesville, Md.) (14) is tied for ninth.
The Bulldogs have been getting progressively better on clears, posting an .829 success rate over the last four games after starting out at just .755 for the first three games. Yale has also picked up more ground balls than its opponent in each of the last three games, and won more draw controls in three of the last four games.
Turnovers have been a major factor in determining the team's success this year. In the Bulldogs' four wins, they have averaged 11.25 turnovers per game. In their three losses, that figure is 16.00. They are 3-0 when they outshoot their opponent, 1-4 when they get outshot or shots are even.
The series between Yale and Harvard has seen some dramatic shifts over the decades. The Crimson won 13 in a row from 1982 through 1994, but in 1995 Yale began a streak of 11 straight wins. The Crimson snapped that streak in 2006, and the teams have split the last six meetings.
Last year in New Haven Harvard jumped out to a 7-0 lead at halftime, then held on for a 7-5 win. McMullan finished with 11 saves as she held the Crimson scoreless for the final 31:02. Yale committed only eight turnovers, but shot just .200 (5-for-25).
Harvard (1-4, 0-2 Ivy League) allowed at least 14 goals in each of its first four games to open the season before Tuesday's 18-4 win at Marquette. Annie Meyjes, listed as a midfielder/goalie on Harvard's roster, has started four games as goalie and posted a .357 save percentage and a 13.66 goals-against average. Backup Melanie Cook saw action in relief at Cornell and started at Northwestern, totaling a .361 save percentage and a 16.10 goals-against average.
Midfielder Micaela Cyr, an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last season, leads the Crimson in scoring (14-5-19), ground balls (12) and draw controls (15). A pair of freshmen, attacker Alexis Nicolia (10) and attacker/midfielder Audrey Todd, round out Harvard's top three in goals. Midfielder Mariel Jenkins, an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last season, leads the team with six caused turnovers. Midfielder Danielle Tetreault, a second team All-Ivy League selection last year and a preseason third team All-American selection by Inside Lacrosse entering this season, has 13 draw controls, 11 ground balls and seven goals. Midfielder Nina Kucharczyk, whose brother Harry plays for the Yale men's lacrosse team, has four draw controls and three ground balls.
Yale at Harvard, Saturday, 1:00 p.m.:
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity