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No. 15 Stony Brook Avoids Upset Bid by Yale, 11-9

Kelly Anne Sherlock. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kelly Anne Sherlock. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Six Goals for Daniggelis, Five Caused Turnovers for Doherty

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's lacrosse team gave the top-ranked defense in the nation a run for its money Wednesday afternoon at Reese Stadium, but ultimately No. 15 Stony Brook edged the Bulldogs 11-9 on a pair of goals in the final 10:42. Yale was frustratingly close to the upset, including a Bulldog shot with two minutes to play that hit the crossbar and then fell just inches away from the goal line. Sophomore attacker Nicole Daniggelis led the Bulldogs with six goals, while junior midfielder Christina Doherty helped Yale's defense stay nearly neck-and-neck with Stony Brook by causing five turnovers.

"We competed right from the starting whistle, and I could not be more proud," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Stony Brook head coach Joe Spallina paid us a huge compliment after the game, saying that that was the best game plan anybody has had against them this year. We executed the game plan and played them -- a top-15 team -- as well as almost anybody on their schedule."

The Bulldogs knew that Stony Brook's defense would pose a challenge, as the Seawolves entered the day allowing just 4.58 goals per game. Stony Brook goalie Frankie Caridi was the nation's leader in both save percentage (.597) and goals-against average (4.34). The Seawolves had been on a real roll of late, holding their last three opponents to three or fewer goals and outscoring them 45-6.

But it was clear early on that things would be different at Reese Stadium on Wednesday. Yale (7-5, 1-3 Ivy League) weathered a 3-1 run by the Seawolves in the first 10 minutes, with Daniggelis' free position goal the Bulldogs' only tally. A beautifully timed pass from senior attacker Jen DeVito to freshman attacker Tess McEvoy in front pulled Yale within 3-2 at the 20:00 mark, and draw controls by Doherty and junior midfielder Erin Magnuson quickly translated into goals by Daniggelis (unassisted) and Doherty (from DeVito) in the next 61 seconds to give Yale a lead.

Stony Brook (11-2, 2-0 America East) countered with two goals in response, but Daniggelis scored again with 27.3 seconds left in the first half to tie the score 5-5 heading into halftime.

The Seawolves had outscored their previous opponents 97-22 in the first half, so the 5-5 score Wednesday boded well for Yale. The Bulldogs then came out and scored four of the first five goals of the second half -- three by Daniggelis (two unassisted and one assisted by DeVito) and one by senior midfielder Julie Mongan (from DeVito) -- to take a 9-6 lead with 20 minutes to play.

Senior goalkeeper Erin McMullan came up with a big save, one of four stops on the day for her, to deny a Stony Brook free position shot shortly after the ninth Yale goal. But the Seawolves got the ground ball, and eventually worked the ball to a wide-open midfielder Kristen Yevoli in front. Her goal brought the score to 9-7.

Despite a Yale timeout the Seawolves kept momentum in their favor. After a wild sequence of back-and-forth turnovers, Stony Brook scored again with 12:03 to play when midfielder Michelle Rubino flicked in the rebound of her own shot. After the Seawolves got the draw control, a great spin move by Rubino in front enabled her to tie the score with 11:46 left.

A critical goal for Stony Brook came with 10:42 remaining, as midfielder Emily Mercier scored on a free position to make the score 10-9 SBU. The Seawolves wound up getting eight free position shots (compared to just two for Yale), and they scored on three of them (Yale scored on just one), making a crucial difference on the scoreboard.

The Seawolves were thus able to spend most of the game's final minutes in the stall, but the Bulldogs did get a few chances. After junior midfielder Cathryn Avallone caused a Seawolves turnover at the sideline in Yale territory with 4:30 to play, the Bulldogs turned the ball over in SBU territory.

The most frustrating chance for Yale, though, came after Doherty caused a turnover to get the ball back with 2:20 to play. The Bulldogs set Doherty up for a shot, but it hit the crossbar and bounced high in the air. It eventually landed right by Caridi and headed for the goal line, but the Stony Brook keeper was able to flick it away and the officials ruled that it had not crossed the line.

Stony Brook turned the ball over again on the ensuing clear, but Daniggelis sent a shot wide while being surrounded by Seawolves defenders and Stony Brook earned possession as the shot went out of bounds. The Seawolves cleared the ball and ran out the final seconds.

Yale wound up scoring more goals against Stony Brook than No. 11 Notre Dame, which edged SBU 8-7 in February. Other than that the only other team to crack the six-goal mark vs. the Seawolves was No. 4 Florida, which scored 14 goals.

"We did a great job, especially with the midfield," said Phillips. "We had a scheme that was very effective. Our players were disciplined when they fed and disciplined when they shot. We attacked where we saw our strengths."

The loss also overshadowed an outstanding effort by the Yale defense. While Rubino (five goals) proved elusive, the Bulldogs kept the Seawolves' leading scorer -- midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke -- from even getting a shot off. Van Dyke had entered the game with 39 goals and 49 points.

"Stony Brook has some great shooters," said Phillips. "Rubino is a force, but we were able to neutralize a couple of their other big scorers."

Led by five from Doherty, Yale had 15 caused turnovers. Doherty led all players with five ground balls, helping Yale to a 19-13 edge in ground balls.

"We felt that Christina had a matchup that would enable her to get some turnovers, and that wound up being true," said Phillips.

Senior defender Adrienne Tarver, who had four ground balls, is now tied with Lindsay Levin '07 -- who captained Yale to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007 -- for second on Yale's career ground balls list (97). She is also eight ground balls away from Yale's single-season record (44 by Sarah Driscoll '05 in 2005).

Daniggelis' big day gives her 35 goals for the season; she also became the Ivy League's single season draw control record holder (she finished the day with 86 draws, breaking the record of 82 that she had shared with Dartmouth's Sarah Plumb entering the day).

"Nicole had some great individual efforts today," said Phillips. "She is a big-time, big-game player, and Stony Brook did not have an answer for her."

Not to be lost in the shuffle was the contributions Yale got from sophomore midfielder Kelly Anne Sherlock, who came off the bench to get four draw controls (tied with Daniggelis for the most on the team).

"Kelly Anne had a great day," said Phillips. "She was great under pressure, and did a lot of little things that did not show up in the stat sheet. She played really well offensively and defensively, and had a lot of good handles. Erin Magnuson and Christina Doherty are the mainstays in our midfield, but players like Kelly Anne have been stepping up."

Yale hosts Columbia Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity