NEW YORK – After falling behind early, the Yale women's lacrosse team spent most of Saturday afternoon at Wien Stadium trying to chase down Columbia. The pesky Lions never completely surrendered their lead, though -- the Bulldogs tied the game up twice late in the second half, but each time Columbia answered by re-taking the lead. The last time proved decisive, as a save by Columbia keeper Kelsey Gedin with 15 seconds to play preserved a 15-14 win over the Bulldogs.
After battling the elements seemingly all season long, the Bulldogs finally encountered sunshine and temperatures in the 50s Saturday afternoon. Yale (7-6, 1-3 Ivy League) came into this game having swept a rare doubleheader last Saturday, beating Sacred Heart 17-5 and Stanford 15-12. But any momentum from those wins dissipated quickly as Columbia jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first eight minutes. Yale's goals came from senior attacker Tess McEvoy and junior attacker Kiwi Comizio.
The Bulldogs battled back to tie the game 4-4 on goals by McEvoy and senior attacker Hope Hanley, but -- as would be the theme all day long -- Yale could not take the lead. The teams traded goals over a span of 10 minutes late in the half, with each Columbia goal answered by a Yale tally from junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna. The Lions then tacked on one more goal with 2:52 left to take a 7-6 lead into halftime. Junior goalkeeper Sydney Marks denied a Columbia shot from point blank range just before time expired, one of seven saves in the half for her.
Columbia (7-5, 2-2 Ivy League) scored the first two goals of the second half, but once again the Bulldogs answered. Gramigna and junior midfielder Emily Granger scored to pull Yale back within one.
One of the key sequences of the second half followed, as Columbia scored on a free position to go ahead 10-8 and then scored a fast break goal off the draw 22 seconds later to turn it into a three-goal game again.
It would take two minutes for Yale to get back within one, though, as Gramigna scored a pair assisted by Hanley. Those two were in sync all day, as Hanley assisted on five of Gramigna's career-high six goals for the game.
A turnover negated Yale's chance to tie the game, and Columbia took advantage to go back ahead by two on a nifty behind-the-back goal from attacker/midfielder Lindsey Ewertsen -- one of four goals on the day for her.
The Bulldogs got within one again on a free position goal by Hanley, but Gedin made one of her biggest saves of the day to deny Gramigna's shot that could have tied the game with 10:50 left. Marks matched that with a huge save on midfielder/attacker Caroline Joy, though, and with 9:41 to play the Bulldogs tied the game for the first time in the second half when Hanley set up Comizio.
But on a day where Columbia enjoyed a 19-12 advantage on draw controls, the Lions got the one after Yale's goal and used that possession to re-take the lead, 13-12, just 41 seconds after Yale had tied it. McEvoy then drove in for a goal that tied the game again, 13-13, with 8:24 to play.
Fouls played a major role in this game too, as Yale was whistled 39 times and Columbia just 25. A free position wound up yielding the go-ahead goal for Columbia (by midfielder Laine Parsons) with 7:16 to play, and on another free position a minute later Ewertsen passed to attacker Victoria Kalamaras to make it 15-13 with 6:21 left.
The Hanley-to-Gramigna connection worked one more time, netting a goal that pulled Yale within 15-14 with 3:59 to play. The Lions called time, and then were awarded a critical draw control when the Bulldogs were called for a violation as they attempted to move players around prior to the draw. The Lions utilized that possession to earn another free position, but Marks came up with a big save with 2:32 left.
A Yale turnover on the clear attempt gave Columbia a chance to work the clock again, but senior defender Victoria Moore forced a turnover that gave the Bulldogs the ball deep in their own end with 38.4 seconds on the clock. They worked the ball up quickly and set up Comizio for a shot, but Gedin made the save and Ewertsen came away with the ground ball to end any chance of another Yale comeback. Gedin finished with 13 saves, while Marks made a season-high 16.
Gramigna led Yale with six goals, while McEvoy added three, Comizio and Hanley had two each, and Granger scored one. Hanley had six assists and sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon had one. Moore contributed five ground balls.
This was just the third time all season Yale has lost the draw control battle. Columbia also claimed a 27-19 advantage in ground balls.
Yale now turns its attention to No. 7 Princeton, which beat Harvard 20-5 Saturday afternoon to remain one of only two teams unbeaten in Ivy League play (Princeton is 3-0 and No. 8 Cornell is 4-0). The Tigers come to Reese next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday's game was dedicated to raising awareness for the One Love Foundation, an organization that seeks to educate about relationship violence, its warning signs, and the responsibilities of those with family or friends affected by dating violence. The organization was founded in 2010 to honor Yeardley Love, a former lacrosse player at Virginia.