NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (Summit, N.J.) emerged as one of the Yale women's lacrosse team's leading scorers this past season -- and now, she has earned a leadership role off the field as well. At the Bulldogs' annual post-season luncheon Tuesday May 2, the team elected her captain for 2017-18.
"Being elected as captain by my teammates is an incredible honor," said Gramigna. "Central to the identity of this team is our close-knit nature; I feel that the way in which we get along is very special and unique. To know that this group of people trusts me and has confidence in me as a leader means the world to me."
Gramigna has been a starter throughout her career, and has regularly been among the team's draw control leaders. This past season she became a major goal-scoring threat as well. She scored a career-high 28 goals -- third on the team and 19 more than she had in her first two seasons combined. She continued to contribute in a variety of other ways as well, setting career highs in draw controls (42) and ground balls (21).
Gramigna's individual accomplishments came in the context of team-wide improvement. The Bulldogs set school records for goals (205), points (304) and draw controls (233) this year, while senior attacker Hope Hanley (Dover, Mass.) set the Yale record for assists in a season (48) and sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (Greenwich, Conn.) had the second-most draw controls in Yale history (87).
"I feel that I can attribute my improvement this year to my teammates," said Gramigna. "Every single play, whether it was practice or a game, we had each other's backs and this gave me the confidence to push myself even more. We worked together to make each other better. Goals came by easier because of people like Hope, who tied the school record for assists in a game and broke the school record for assists in an entire season. Draws came by easier because of people like Izzy, who could put the ball wherever we asked. Everyone on this team was constantly working their hardest to make each other better every day and I think that really helped me this season."
Gramigna leads Yale into its third season with Erica LaGrow as the team's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse.
"Madeleine has earned the utmost respect of her teammates and our staff through her leadership on and off the field," said LaGrow. "She will be an excellent extension of the coaching staff and will bring a confident and competitive spirit to the role. I look forward to Madeleine, along with the strength of the senior class, leading this team in pursuit of Ivy Championships."
Gramigna is one of 10 rising seniors on the team, including attacker Kiwi Comizio (New Vernon, N.J.), attacker Emma Dunne (Oak Park, Ill.), midfielder Taryn Gallagher (Haverford, Pa.), midfielder Emily Granger (Grasonville, Md.), defender Cooper Hall (Wyndmoor, Pa.), goalkeeper Sydney Marks (Chappaqua, N.Y.), attacker Maggie Pizzo (East Hampton, N.Y.), attacker Katie Smith (Duxbury, Mass.) and attacker Lily Smith (Duxbury, Mass.).
That group looks to lead the team in building on the accomplishments of this past season, when -- in addition to setting multiple team records -- the Bulldogs beat a nationally ranked team for the first time since 2010. That win came on Apr. 1 vs. then-No. 19 Stanford at Reese Stadium, shortly after the Bulldogs beat Sacred Heart earlier in the day as part of a rare doubleheader.
"Most memorable to me as a Yale women's lacrosse player would have to be beating Stanford in the doubleheader that we played this season," said Gramigna. "Even though on paper we were considered to be underdogs, between the energy and the excitement that we came out with, it never felt like losing was an option. Every single person on the team stepped up that day and played to their full potential, not just for one game but for two. This win lit a spark in our team and proved to everyone that we can compete with, and most importantly beat, top-ranked teams."
With 25 players returning in 2017-18, including six who started at least six games this past season, the Bulldogs will look to make a big move in the Ivy League standings. With three one-goal losses in league play, the team came tantalizingly close to making the Ivy League Tournament for the first time in school history.
"I fully expect the team to compete for an Ivy Championship next season," said Gramigna. "We improved a lot this season as a team and I think that will give us the confidence we need for success. While not making the tournament definitely stung, it will fuel the fire for revenge next year. I know that the rest of my 2018 class and I are excited to follow the example of leadership and determination set by the 2017 class and those that came before us."
A Summit High School graduate who played for STEPS Elite, Gramigna is in Trumbull College at Yale and is majoring in psychology. She will be a Research Analyst at Point72 Asset Management in Stamford, Conn., this summer. She leads Yale into its 43rd varsity season and is the third Bulldog women's lacrosse captain from New Jersey.
Yale Women's Lacrosse Captains from New Jersey
2002: Megan Strenski (Moorestown, N.J.)
2008: Kat Peetz (Spring Lake, N.J.)
2018: Madeleine Gramigna (Summit, N.J.)
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity