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No. 8 Penn Provides Final Challenge of 2017 Season

The Yale women's lacrosse huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale women's lacrosse huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

 

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's lacrosse team has already racked up several significant accomplishments in the 2017 season, and Sunday provides the Bulldogs with one last chance to add to that list. The Bulldogs will play at No. 8 Penn (1:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network) in the season finale. The Quakers, one of five teams on Yale's schedule that are currently ranked in the IWLCA poll, enter Sunday's game with a chance at the Ivy League title while the Bulldogs seek to play spoiler. Yale, which has set the school record for points and draw controls in a season, is just seven goals away from breaking the school goals record. A win Sunday would be Yale's eighth and would tie for eighth on the school's single-season wins list.

 
 

LAST TIME OUT: BULLDOGS FALL TO DARTMOUTH

A three-goal run by Dartmouth midway through the second half, shortly after a delay of two hours and 15 minutes due to a scoreboard malfunction, proved decisive last Saturday at Reese Stadium as the Big Green edged Yale 12-11. The Bulldogs had rallied from a 7-4 deficit to take an 8-7 lead right before the scoreboard broke. The Bulldogs fell to 7-8 overall and 1-5 in Ivy League play; three of those league losses have been by just one goal. Junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna led Yale with three goals, while sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon had seven draw controls.

 
 

OFFENSE NEARS GOALS RECORD

With 198 goals this season, Yale is six away from tying the school record (204 goals, 1999). The Bulldogs have dramatically increased their scoring from a year ago, when they scored 118 goals. They have already set the school record for points in a season (198-96-294), breaking the mark of 287 set in 1999. The team's 96 assists are tied for second on Yale's all-time list (with the 1980 team), trailing only 1978's total of 113.

 

SHARP SHOOTERS

Yale currently is second in the Ivy League in shooting percentage (.432), an improvement of 53 percentage points compared to last season (.379). Three Bulldogs with 30 or more shots are shooting .480 or better: senior attacker Hope Hanley and junior attacker Kiwi Comizio are both at .600 (best in the Ivy League), and sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon is at .481.

 

HANLEY KEEPS SETTING RECORDS

Senior attacker Hope Hanley set the Yale single season record with her 44th assist Apr. 15 vs. Princeton, breaking a mark established by Laura Karmatz '96 in 1994. Hanley has established career highs in goals, assists and points (30-48-78) this year. She leads the Ivy League in points and assists. She is second in the NCAA in assists and fifth in points per game. Her .600 shooting percentage is tied for first among players in the Ivy League with 30 or more shots. She has at least two points in 14 of 15 games this season, and 32 points (10-22-32) in the last five games.

Hanley is sixth on Yale's single-season points list with 78. The Yale points record (89) was set by Tracy Ball '81 in 1980.

On Apr. 3 Hanley was named US Lacrosse Player of the Week. She totaled 16 points in three games, including tying the Yale records for assists and points (3-8-11) in a game in the 15-12 win vs. then-No. 19 Stanford Apr. 1. She had a hand in 11 of Yale's 15 goals that night as the Bulldogs swept a doubleheader (their first in 13 years), having beaten Sacred Heart 17-5 earlier in the day. Hanley had two goals and two assists against the Pioneers. She also had a goal in the 19-12 loss at No. 17 Boston College Mar. 29.

On Feb. 27 Hanley earned Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Week after totaling 19 points in two wins. That was the first weekly award of the season for any Yale player. Hanley earned it after a scoring spree that started with a 10-point game (4-6-10) Feb. 21 against Quinnipiac as Yale beat the Bobcats 21-3. Hanley followed that up with five goals and four assists in the 15-4 win vs. Robert Morris Feb. 26.

A political science major in Ezra Stiles College, Hanley was a US Lacrosse All-American in high school while playing for Loomis Chaffee.

 

McEVOY AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN GOALS, POINTS, CTs

Senior attacker Tess McEvoy, Yale's captain, is tied for fourth in the Ivy League in goals with 41 and is fifth in points with 57. She has had least two points in 14 of 15 games this season, and has scored five goals in a game three times. She also is seventh in the league in caused turnovers with 22. She is tied for 10th on Yale's career goals list and is 11th on Yale's career points list (108-33-141).

Last season McEvoy was a second team All-Ivy League honoree and earned the Team MVP award. She started all 15 games -- making her one of only four Bulldogs to do so -- and had nine hat tricks. She finished fifth in the league with 35 goals, leading Yale with 43 points (35-8-43) while establishing career highs in all three categories.

A political science major in Saybrook College, McEvoy was an Under Armour All-American and a US Lacrosse All-American at Georgetown Visitation. She also played for Capital Lacrosse Club.

 

NIXON EMERGES AS FACTOR ON ATTACK, DRAW CONTROLS

Sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon has emerged as a threat in multiple ways this year. She is fifth on the team in goals and third on the team in assists and points (26-12-38) after having just one goal and one point last season. She has a point in 14 of 15 games this season, with a season high of eight (6-2-8) in the 19-10 win at Marist Feb. 28. She is second in the league in draw controls with 78, the third-best total by a Bulldog in the last 14 years (the record is 104, set by Nicole Daniggelis '16 in 2014). She has had at least one draw control in every game this season, with a high of 11 Apr. 1 vs. Stanford.

A member of Trumbull College, Nixon was a two-time All-American at Greenwich Academy. She also played for CT Grizzlies. In 2015 she was published in a peer-reviewed medical journal while she was a research assistant at Stamford Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine.

 

GRAMIGNA ENJOYING CAREER-BEST YEAR

Junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna is enjoying the best season of her career so far, setting personal highs in goals and points (28-0-28). She also has a career-best 37 draw controls. Prior to this season she had totaled nine goals, 10 points and 40 draw controls in 28 career games.

Gramigna has 12 goals in the last three games, shooting .462. She has scored at least two goals in six straight games.

 

CONTROLLING THE DRAW

The graduation of Nicole Daniggelis '16, the Ivy League's all-time leader in draw controls, does not appear to have affected Yale's ability to win the draw control battle. The Bulldogs have a school record 216 draw controls this season compared to 177 for their opponents (a .550 winning percentage). The previous Yale record was 205, set in 2013. Sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (78 draws, second) and junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (37 draws, sixth) give Yale two of the top six in draw controls in the league. Yale as a team is second in the league in draws, two fewer than first-place Dartmouth.

 

VETERAN DEFENSE

The Yale defense has the rare luxury of having all four seniors starting: Marisa Cresham, Emily Markham, Victoria Moore and Ashley Perselay have each started all 15 games. They have combined for 78 ground balls and 45 caused turnovers.

Cresham, who had one career start prior to this season, has established career highs in ground balls (15), draw controls (19, third on the team) and caused turnovers (9). Markham, who has not missed a game in her career, was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year. She has 20 ground balls and 11 CTs this year. Moore, who also has not missed a game in her career, was a second team All-Ivy pick as a sophomore when she had a career-high 19 caused turnovers (third in the Ivy League). She leads Yale with 33 ground balls this season (ninth in the Ivy League) and has 14 caused turnovers (second on the team). Perselay made her first career start this season and has contributed 11 caused turnovers, 10 ground balls and two draw controls so far.

The two non-senior defenders who have started games this season are junior Cooper Hall (10 starts) and freshman Margaret Stover (four starts).

 

DEPTH IN GOAL

Junior goalkeeper Sydney Marks has started 13 games this season and has a .433 save percentage along with a 12.21 goals-against average. She made a season-high 16 saves at Columbia Apr. 8. Sophomore Allie Carrigan started the other two games. She has a .500 save percentage and an 8.34 goals-against average. The duo has combined to limit opponents to a .412 shooting percentage.

Marks seized the opportunity to start last year, finishing second in the Ivy League with 130 saves. That included five games with 10 or more saves, and a career-high 19 at Princeton. She started all 15 games, giving way to Carrigan for just 1:23.

 
 

TWO-SPORT STARS GALORE

A significant chunk of Yale's roster spent this past fall playing other sports, including four who played field hockey and one who played soccer. Junior attacker Kiwi Comizio continues to emerge as one of the best all-around athletes at Yale; she is coming off a field hockey season in which she led Yale in assists while extending her streak of consecutive starts to 51. On the lacrosse field Comizio is fourth on the team in goals and points (27-2-29), with career highs in both categories.

While Comizio has played two sports throughout her time at Yale, others have made the move later in their careers. The Bulldogs' attack got a lot deeper last year with the addition of identical twin junior attackers Katie Smith and Lily Smith, who had only played field hockey their freshman year. As two-sport stars they have both shown the ability to contribute, with Lily appearing in 12 games (four starts) this season and Katie appearing in 10.

Sophomore goalkeeper Allie Carrigan spent her freshman year playing only lacrosse, seeing 1:23 of action as a backup goalie. This past fall she showcased her athleticism by joining the field hockey team and playing forward, finishing third on the team in points (6-1-13). So far this lacrosse season she has appeared in six games, making two starts and posting a .500 save percentage.

Three of those field hockey players -- Comizio, Katie Smith and Lily Smith -- were honored Mar. 15 with selection to the NFHCA National Academic Squad for their work in the classroom.

Sophomore defender Keri Cavallo is the latest two-sport addition to Yale's roster. She spent the past two falls playing soccer for Yale, and has made 22 starts for the soccer team in that span.

 

SCHEDULE

Yale's 2017 slate includes six games against teams that made the NCAA tournament last season. Yale's 16 regular-season games include seven Ivy League games and nine non-league games. This is the eighth year for the Ivy League women's lacrosse tournament, in which the top four teams in the final standings play for the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

 

OPPONENTS IN THE POLL

Five of Yale's opponents are currently ranked or receiving votes in the IWLCA poll. The Bulldogs will play No. 8 Penn in the regular season finale. They have already played No. 4 Stony Brook, No. 6 Princeton, No. 11 Cornell and No. 15 Boston College. Stanford, currently unranked, was ranked No. 19 when the Bulldogs beat the Cardinal Apr 1. That was Yale's first win vs. a ranked opponent since an 11-9 win at then-No. 13 BU Mar. 24, 2010.

 

LaGROW GOES "BEHIND THE WHISTLE"

Erica LaGrow, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, recently wrote an entry for the IWLCA's "Behind the Whistle" blog. You can read her "Ten Signs That You Are in Lacrosse Season" at https://iwlca.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/ten-signs-that-you-are-in-lacrosse-season/.

 

SCOUTING PENN

Penn (12-2, 5-1 Ivy League) is currently part of a three-way tie for first in the Ivy League, so the Quakers will have the chance to earn at least a share of their 12th league title on Sunday. The two other 5-1 Ivy teams, Cornell and Princeton, have games on Saturday. Cornell hosts Harvard, which is 4-2 in the league. Princeton hosts Columbia, which is 2-4 in the league. Penn has won or shared the Ivy title nine times since the start of the 2007 season, posting a 70-6 league record in that span.

Penn's .857 winning percentage ranks seventh nationally. The Quakers are also seventh nationally in RPI and have locked up a berth in the Ivy League Tournament, but they will certainly be looking to avoid an upset by Yale Sunday that could spoil their shot at the Ivy title.

As usual, Penn features a stingy defense that ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense (7.79 goals per game). The Quakers lead the nation in save percentage (.557), with goalkeeper Britt Brown second nationally (.558).

Midfielder Alex Condon leads Penn in points (41-11-52), shooting .461. She is second on the team with 19 caused turnovers, trailing only the 32 that defender Katy Junior has (tied for first in the Ivy League). The Quakers are the only Ivy team with two players that have 49 or more points, as attacker Emily Rogers-Healion is at 49 (27-22-49).

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

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