NEW HAVEN, Conn. – One of the signs of progress for the Yale women's lacrosse team last season was a signature 15-12 win vs. then-No. 19 Stanford at Reese Stadium -- the Bulldogs' first win vs. a ranked team since 2010. That win came in the 12th game last year; this year, the Bulldogs made a statement in the very first game by taking down No. 24 Albany 12-10. Hat tricks from first-year attacker Kayla Duperrouzel and sophomore midfielder Vanessa Yu led the way.
"This was a great team win, with eight different scorers on the offensive end," said Erica LaGrow, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of women's lacrosse. "[Assistant coach] Colleen Smith did an excellent job preparing our goalkeepers and defenders against a talented Albany offense. I'm happy with the way our D came out and executed."
Yale (1-0, 0-0 Ivy League) entered the game with the usual assortment of questions to answer in a season opener; replacing four starters on defense who graduated last year was chief among them. That would not be an easy task against any opponent, let alone Albany, which finished last season with a 12-6 record and fell to Northwestern in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But the Bulldogs found the answers they needed. With one returning starting defender (senior Cooper Hall) and senior goalie Sydney Marks providing the backbone, the Bulldogs held an Albany team that averaged nearly 14 goals per game last year to just three goals in the first half. Junior Eliot Schulte and sophomore Margaret Stover emerged as starters after serving as backups last year, and the Bulldogs also added to their depth at the position by moving senior Taryn Gallagher over from the midfield to a new role as a starting defender. She finished tied for the team lead with three ground balls.
"Taryn Gallagher played a key role in our defense," said LaGrow. "We asked her to move from the midfield and join our young defensive unit. I'm really proud of how well she played, but more proud of how she has taken on the role of leader."
Duperrouzel and Yu led the way for a Yale attack that graduated a pair of All-Ivy League honorees from a unit that set the school record for goals and points in a season. First-year midfielder Sam Higgins contributed her first career goal, and junior Addie Zinsner scored her first goal in two years, having missed most of last season due to injury.
Duperrouzel, a first team All-American in high school, has made a quick impression with her preparation off the field.
"Kayla stepped up," said LaGrow. "She has put a lot of time into watching film, and is a true student of the game."
Yale also got goals from sophomore midfielder Barrett Carlson, senior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna, senior midfielder Emily Granger and junior attacker Izzy Nixon. Nixon stood out with 10 draw controls -- including the last two of the game -- and three assists. Higgins, Zinsner and senior attacker Kiwi Comizio also had assists.
"Izzy had a great day on the draw," said LaGrow. "She and [assistant coach] Molly Hulseman have put a lot of time and effort into that, and the results showed."
Albany (0-1, 0-0 America East) had closed to within 11-10 with 3:34 to play on a free position goal by midfielder Kyla Zapolski, but Nixon got the draw and the Bulldogs worked the clock before Nixon set up Duperrouzel for a goal at 2:03. After Nixon got the next draw, the Bulldogs ran off most of the clock and a late turnover proved harmless. Marks finished with four saves.
"There are still a lot of things we can work on," said LaGrow. "We are going to enjoy this win and then get back to work."
Yale visits Quinnipiac Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity