March 1, 2014

Second-Half Surge Earns Yale a 12-5 Win at Dartmouth in Ivy Opener

DeVito and Fleishhacker Combine for 12 Points

HANOVER, N.H. – The Yale women's lacrosse team followed a simple formula for victory Saturday afternoon at Scully Fahey field in the Ivy League opener vs. Dartmouth: score goals, limit shots and win draw controls. The Bulldogs' offensive and defensive effectiveness, combined with a 15-5 edge on the draw, added up to a 12-5 win over the Big Green -- Yale's first win vs. Dartmouth since 2008.

Junior attacker Kerri Fleishhacker led Yale with seven points (five goals, two assists) and senior attacker Jen DeVito added three goals and two assists. The source of Yale's dominant draw control numbers was sophomore attacker Nicole Daniggelis, who had nine draws while also contributing a goal and an assist.

"This was a complete team effort," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Our defense was amazing, and held Dartmouth to only 16 shots. [Senior goalkeeper] Erin McMullan played great in the cage. Nicole Daniggelis dominated on the draw. Dartmouth just could not get possession. Offensively, we had six different people score -- Dartmouth could not key on just one person."

Yale (3-0, 1-0 Ivy League), which is 3-0 for the first time since 2001 (when the Bulldogs started 8-0), led just 4-3 after the first half. Dartmouth (2-1, 0-1 Ivy League) took a 1-0 lead on a goal by attacker Danielle Lisovicz at 26:57. DeVito then got Yale on the board at 21:25, driving into the crease from behind the goal and firing one in high to tie the score.

McMullan made several big saves with the game close, including a denial of a free position attempt by attacker Lindsey Allard 12 minutes in. After Dartmouth goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello made a save on senior midfielder Julie Mongan on a fast break, McMullan answered by stopping Big Green attacker Sarah Byrne to keep the score tied 1-1.

Shortly after freshman attacker Tess McEvoy grabbed a ground ball in the midfield after a Dartmouth turnover, Yale took its first lead when junior midfielder Christina Doherty converted a feed from Fleishhacker at 11:34. But after a Yale free position shot sailed wide -- the Bulldogs were 0-for-5 on free positions in the first half -- Dartmouth tied the game 2-2 on a free position goal by attacker Liz Calby, then went ahead 3-2 on a free position goal by Byrne at 5:52.

That wound up being Dartmouth's last lead of the game. In the final four minutes of the half, DeVito scored off a Daniggelis assist and Fleishhacker scored an unassisted goal to send the Bulldogs into halftime up 4-3. McMullan capped the half by going low to deny Byrne with 22 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs' lead was slim despite outshooting Dartmouth 15-8 in the first and winning six of eight draw controls. But as the second half got underway, Yale's edge in those categories began showing up on the scoreboard as well.

"We shot poorly in the first half," Phillips said. "We had a lot of shots, but because we shot poorly we weren't really rewarded. In the second half we were more deliberate and more patient, so we were able to put the ball in the back of the net."

Fleishhacker scored on a fast break with 25:25 to play, and after Giovanniello denied a high shot by DeVito following a Dartmouth turnover, Byrne pulled the Big Green back within one with her 12th goal of the year. That goal came with 24:01 to play, and it would be nearly 23 minutes before Dartmouth scored again.

In the meantime, the Bulldogs took control with a 7-0 run that included three goals by Fleishhacker and one each from Daniggelis, DeVito, junior midfielder Cathryn Avallone and junior midfielder Erin Magnuson. DeVito had a pair of assists during that run, and Fleishhacker had one.

McMullan came up with a big save on a free position attempt by Dartmouth with 19:40 to play, when Yale's lead was still just two. By the time she had to make another save the Bulldogs had a 12-4 lead and just 6:51 remained in the game.

During that remarkable 7-0 run after Dartmouth pulled within 5-4, Yale benefitted from draw control wins by Daniggelis (four), Magnuson and Mongan. Dartmouth won two draws in that span, but Magnuson negated them by causing turnovers (she finished with 3 CTs for the day). That possession edge enabled Yale to work the clock, and the Bulldog attack remained composed as the Big Green defense began applying pressure. Yale committed just three turnovers in the final 20:30.

Dartmouth was able to tack on a late goal by Byrne, but Yale senior defender Adrienne Tarver scooped up the final ground ball and the Bulldogs mobbed McMullan to celebrate the win. She finished with eight saves, while Giovanniello made 11.

This marks just the third time since 1983 that Yale has held Dartmouth to five or fewer goals. The last time that happened prior to Saturday was a 6-5 Yale victory in Hanover in 2006. While praising the defense as a whole, Phillips singled out freshman defender Victoria Moore for her work.

"Victoria Moore, as a freshman in her first Ivy League game, was amazing defensively, on the clear and on 50/50 balls," said Phillips. "She played like a veteran. Also, [sophomore defender] Flannery Carney played awesome."

All of Yale's nine seniors -- DeVito, McMullan, Mongan, Tarver, midfielder Ashley McCormick, attacker Meghan Murray, defender Kallie Parchman, midfielder Courteney Rutter and defender Katherine Sherrill -- saw playing time on Saturday, celebrating the first win over Dartmouth in their time at Yale.

Phillips credits that group for playing a key role in Yale's successful start to the season.

"This team really takes pride in its work ethic," said Phillips. "That is something that has developed over time, and I give credit for it to [team captain] Adrienne Tarver and the senior class. They were determined to change the direction of the 2014 team; they were part of a 3-12 season as freshmen and now they've already won their first three games as seniors. They know that they get what they earn."  

Yale returns home to Host Bryant on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

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