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Attack Bounces Back as Yale Beats Cal 17-6

Jen DeVito. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jen DeVito. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Doherty Gets Four Points, Four Ground Balls, Three Draw Controls and Three Caused Turnovers

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale attack came back in a big way Friday afternoon vs. Cal at Reese Stadium. After being limited to a season-low five goals in a 6-5 loss at BU Wednesday, the Bulldogs scored a season-high 17 times against the Golden Bears for a 17-6 win that snapped a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs scored the final eight goals of the game to win going away.

After starting the season with five wins in which they averaged 13 goals per game, the Bulldogs had seen their goals scored decrease for three straight games -- all losses. The loss to the Terriers Wednesday wound up providing the impetus to reverse that trend.

"We made some changes after Wednesday," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "We put in a revised offense that worked better, and we got some good looks. We had always been good at scoring in transition, but we were struggling to get settled, 7v7 goals."

Yale (6-3, 1-2 Ivy League) finished with 12 assists -- the most in a game for the Bulldogs in at least eight years. They also shot an impressive .753 (17 for 26). And after seeing their streak of seven straight games of winning the draw control snapped Wednesday, they responded by winning 16 of 25 draws Friday.

"Two of our goals were to get roughly half of our goals via settled attack, and to do better at the draw control," said Phillips. "Those were two big improvements that we made, and it resulted in more scoring opportunities."

Sophomore attacker Nicole Daniggelis wound up helping dramatically in those categories, as she had four goals, four assists and nine draw controls. After she opened the scoring with a goal three minutes into the game, Cal briefly took the lead by scoring the next two goals. But the Bulldogs responded with a 4-0 run.

Daniggelis started the run with a pair of goals -- one assisted by senior attacker Jen DeVito and one assisted by junior midfielder Erin Magnuson. Junior midfielder Christina Doherty then scored of a Magnuson assist, and DeVito scored by firing in a shot after grabbing the ground ball following a save by Cal goalie Helen Hansen on a Yale free position attempt. That made the score 5-2 Yale at 7:36 of the first.

Midfielder Gaby Christman momentarily stopped Yale's momentum with a goal for Cal at the 6:55 mark, but Magnuson scored off a DeVito assist and Doherty scored on a free position to send Yale into halftime with a 7-3 lead. Doherty then grabbed the first draw control of the second half, and that enabled DeVito to set up senior midfielder Julie Mongan for a goal 30 seconds in.

Cal (2-6, 1-1 MPSF) made one final run, scoring three of the next four goals to pull within 9-6. The lone Yale tally in that stretch was a free position goal by Doherty.

With the lead trimmed to three goals, Yale called timeout. Shortly after that Daniggelis drew a foul right outside the 8-meter fan, and she had just enough space after the re-start to whip a shot in from distance and put Yale ahead 10-6 with 14:44 to play.

After that it was all Bulldogs, as DeVito scored three more times, junior midfielder Cathryn Avallone scored twice, and Magnuson and freshman attacker Tess McEvoy added one goal each. Daniggelis had four assists in that span, and Avallone and Doherty had one each.

Doherty's day wound up including three goals and one assist along with four ground balls, three caused turnovers and three ground balls.

"She did it all for us today," said Phillips. "She played really well, and is such a catalyst for our transition game. What a breakout game for her."

All told, seven different players had at least one point for Yale.

"A lot of things are starting to click," said Phillips. "We knew that this was the time of the season where things have to come together. Jen DeVito had a nice day and has been doing a really good job as the quarterback of our offense. We got good goalie play from Erin McMullan (eight saves) and great defense. We finally put the pieces together."

Senior defender Adrienne Tarver led Yale with five caused turnovers and five ground balls. This marked the eighth time in 10 games this season that the Bulldogs have held their opponent to eight or fewer goals. Cal managed only 19 shots, making this the fifth time Yale has held its opponent to less than 20 shots.

One of the reasons the Golden Bears had so few offensive opportunities was because Yale's ride forced Cal into seven failed clears -- the sixth time this season the Bulldogs have forced at least five failed clears.

"That has been the greatest improvement in our team game this year," said Phillips. "The ride has been consistently good. They have been tough, and they have gotten us second-chance opportunities. We're more athletic and can do a ride that makes it very difficult for our opponents."

The Bulldogs host Lehigh on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity