Sophomore Attacker Finishes One Shy of Ivy League Single-Game Draw Control Record
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Bitterly cold temperatures at Campus Field did little to slow down the Yale women's lacrosse team Wednesday afternoon at Sacred Heart, as eight different players scored goals and the Bulldogs came away with a 16-5 win. Sophomore attacker Nicole Daniggelis led the way for Yale with eight points, including six goals and two assists. She also finished with 14 draw controls -- one shy of her own Ivy League single-game record -- as the Bulldogs improved to 2-0 on the season.
Yale took control of this game early while dealing with a wind chill in the single digits that made passing difficult. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first half thanks to three goals from Daniggelis and one each from junior attacker Kerri Fleishhacker, junior midfielder Erin Magnuson, freshman attacker Tess McEvoy, senior midfielder Julie Mongan, senior attacker Meghan Murray and sophomore midfielder Tori Virtue. Murray's tally was her first since 2012, as she missed all of last season with an injury.
The Bulldogs were coming off a 10-8 win vs. Holy Cross in the season opener Saturday in which they limited the Crusaders to just one goal in the final 30:43. That momentum carried over into Wednesday's game, as Sacred Heart scored just once in the first 31:09. The Pioneers did not even get a shot off until more than 10 minutes had elapsed in the game, and by then Yale had a 7-0 lead.
The first Pioneers shot sailed high, and Yale senior goalkeeper Erin McMullan denied two more (including one on a free position) before Sacred Heart finally scored with 3:31 left in the first.
"We're focusing defensively on stopping drives and forcing our opponents to take bad angles," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "The other part of the equation is getting the draw control. For the last half of the Holy Cross game and the first half of this game, all of that came together effectively."
The only thing holding the Bulldogs back in the first half was turnovers -- they had 12. Sacred Heart goalkeeper Kelly Keenan stopped a bounce shot by Daniggelis with just over a minute to play before halftime, and the Bulldogs took a 9-1 lead into the break.
Sacred Heart (0-2) scored again a minute into the second half, and after Daniggelis scored to extend the lead to 10-2 the Pioneers went on a three-goal run that brought them within five.
Junior midfielder Erin Magnuson helped stop that run by picking up a ground ball after a Sacred Heart turnover in front of the Yale goal. Immediately after that, Fleishhacker set up senior attacker Jen DeVito for a goal that put Yale ahead 11-5. Less than a minute later, Daniggelis fired in a free position shot to get the lead to seven. The final 10 minutes saw the Bulldogs tack on goals by Daniggelis, DeVito, Fleishhacker and Murray for the 16-5 final.
"As the sun set and the temperature dropped, our execution did as well," said Phillips. "We did some really good things in the first half -- fast break, draw controls, ground balls, caused turnovers. In the second half, we had people whose hands were so cold they couldn't feel them. Our passing game, which we count on, deteriorated. But after we gave up some goals, we re-focused. It wasn't easy to score in conditions like this, so we're happy to have a win."
Daniggelis' 14 draw controls helped Yale to an 18-5 advantage in that category.
"It's a gift that she has," said Phillips. "It really kick-starts our offense, because we can play from 50 yards and in when she dominates on the draw. She probably had another three on her stick today that she could have gotten. This is a game of possession, and overall she did a great job with that."
After getting just one assist on the 10 goals scored in the season opener, the Bulldogs had 10 assists on the 16 goals scored Wednesday. DeVito led the way with four, while Daniggelis and Fleishhacker had two each and McEvoy and junior midfielder Christina Doherty had one each.
"Jen DeVito had a great day," said Phillips. "She was very composed, and was a great decision maker. She really anchored the offense. For all the handles that she has, she also helps us in transition as well. It's nice to have experience like that on attack. Meg Murray is another senior who is really helping to make the offense work."
Defensively, 11 different Bulldogs had caused turnovers, including four players with two CTs each: McEvoy, freshman defender Emily Markham, senior defender Adrienne Tarver and sophomore defender Kate Walker. McMullan finished with four saves, while Sacred Heart's Kelly Keenan made 10.
Yale travels to Dartmouth for the Ivy League opener Saturday at Noon.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity