Early Yale Lead Slips Away
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A long scoreless streak -- 29:45 in the middle of the game -- proved costly for the Yale women's lacrosse team Saturday at Harvard, enabling the Crimson to turn a 2-1 Yale lead into a 7-2 Harvard lead. By the time the Bulldogs ended the drought in the second half it was too late, and Harvard held on for a 10-5 win.
The Yale scoreless streak came mainly from self-inflicted wounds, as the Bulldogs committed nine turnovers in that span (15 for the game). During that stretch of nearly 30 minutes they had three shots that were wide or high and one that was blocked, so Harvard goalkeeper Melanie Cook needed to make just two saves to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. She made six for the game as a whole, as Yale shot just 4-for-20.
On a sunny but cold and windy day, the Bulldogs sported crimson and gold ribbons to honor the Seton Hill women's lacrosse team, which was involved in a bus crash last Saturday that claimed the lives of pregnant head coach Kristina Quigley and bus driver Anthony Guaetta. Yale began the game with some effective offensive sequences but could not finish; the Bulldogs had four shots in the first eight minutes but failed to score. After junior attacker Jen DeVito hit the post a few minutes in, Harvard went ahead 1-0 on a free position goal by midfielder Micaela Cyr at 25:07. The Crimson very nearly scored off the ensuing draw control -- but a foul by junior defender Adrienne Tarver disrupted a breakaway, and the Crimson missed the ensuing free position attempt.
Yale then controlled play for several minutes, but failed to convert a pair of free position attempts. The Bulldogs finally broke through when sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone scored from the 8-meter arc at 19:37.
It did not take nearly as long for the Bulldogs to get their second goal, as a nice feed from DeVito set up freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis for a score that made it 2-1 Yale slightly more than a minute after Avallone's goal.
But that would be the end of the scoring for Yale in the first half, as Harvard reeled off three goals to head into halftime up 4-2. The deficit would have been larger were it not for a couple great saves by junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan, including one on a breakaway by attacker Audrey Todd after a draw control with less than three minutes to play. McMullan, who would finish with seven saves, capped the half by stopping a shot by midfielder Nina Kucharczyk in the final seconds.
Harvard (2-4, 1-2 Ivy League) scored again 16 seconds into the second half, then extended the lead to 6-2 with 21:24 left in the game. That prompted a Yale timeout. The Crimson won the ensuing draw control, though, and scored again to go up 7-2 with 20:21 left.
Yale had an 11-6 edge in draw controls for the day, but Harvard got the first two of the second half as the Crimson extended the lead. Daniggelis broke that string by getting one of her four draw controls for the day after Harvard's seventh goal. She then drew a foul on the Crimson and lined up just to the right of the eight-meter arc. She drove into the fan and, as the defense collapsed around her, spun and fired the ball in to snap Yale's scoring drought and pull the Bulldogs within 7-3 with 18:34 left.
Another free position goal, this one by freshman midfielder Lauren Wackerle, cut Harvard's lead to 7-4 with 14:40 to play.
The Bulldogs had a chance to pull within two, but missed a free position attempt and then turned the ball over on a drive in front of the Harvard goal. That enabled the Crimson to get the ball back and score to go up 8-4 with 13 minutes to play. The eight goals Harvard had at that point had come from seven different players.
The Bulldogs missed another free position shot right after that, with Cook going low to make the save. The Crimson extended the lead to 9-4 on a goal by attacker Alexis Nicolia coming off a pick with 11:11 to play.
The Bulldogs called their final timeout after Nicolia's goal, and Daniggelis got the draw control, but a turnover on a pass into the 8-meter fan gave the ball back to Harvard with 10 minutes to play. Junior defender Katherine Sherrill got a piece of a Crimson shot attempt, enabling McMullan to grab the ball and snuff out the Crimson threat.
Sophomore attacker Kerri Fleishhacker then drove and drew a foul. She bounced in the free position shot to pull Yale within 9-5 with 6:55 left.
The next draw control proved to be crucial; Harvard got it and stalled. By the time junior midfielder Courteney Rutter caused a Crimson turnover along the sideline there were just three minutes left in the game. Cook then stopped a shot by Wackerle with 2:30 left, and Harvard midfielder Danielle Tetreault scored with 1:35 left to make the final score 10-5.
Yale (4-4, 0-3 Ivy League) hosts Cal on Friday at Reese Stadium.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity