Local Rivals Meet Wednesday at Quinnipiac

The Yale bench. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale bench. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After upsetting then-No. 24 Albany in the season opener, the Yale women's lacrosse team now turns its attention to a local rival. The Bulldogs make the short trip up I-91 on Wednesday afternoon to face Quinnipiac, which is playing its first game in its new stadium (3:00 p.m., Quinnipiac All-Access).



Yale (1-0, 0-0 Ivy League) knocked off a nationally ranked opponent for the second time in as many years with a 12-10 win vs. then-No. 24 Albany in the season opener Saturday at Reese Stadium. Junior attacker Izzy Nixon (Greenwich, Conn.) led the team in points (1-3-4) and draw controls (10, one away from her career high). The Bulldogs got hat tricks from first-year attacker Kayla Duperrouzel (Fairfax Station, Va.) and sophomore midfielder Vanessa Yu (Oyster Bay, N.Y.). Those were the first career goals for both. First-year midfielder Sam Higgins (Shoreham, N.Y.) scored her first career goal and led the team with three caused turnovers. She tied with senior defender Taryn Gallagher (Haverford, Pa.) for the team lead in ground balls with three.

Yale outshot the Great Danes 25-22 and won 16 of 23 draws.

The Bulldogs had beaten then-No. 19 Stanford at Reese Apr. 1, 2017, which was their first win vs. a ranked team since 2010.



Senior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (Summit, N.J.) earned the team's captaincy with contributions that ranged from scoring (28 goals, third on the team and a career high) to getting draw controls (42, second on the team and tied for seventh in the Ivy League) to getting ground balls (21). She started all 16 games, a career high.

Gramigna had one goal and three draw controls in the season-opening 12-10 win vs. then-No. 24 Albany.



The Bulldogs will rely heavily on junior attacker Izzy Nixon (Greenwich, Conn.). Nixon contributes in a variety of ways, starting with her excellence on the draw. She was second in the league with 87 draw controls, the second-best total by a Yale player in 14 years. Nixon is also a big part of the attack, finishing third on the team in points (26-14-40) and fifth in goals. She was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection, the lone returning all-league pick for the Bulldogs.

Nixon had four points (1-3-4) and 10 draw controls, one away from her career high), in the season-opening 12-10 win vs. then-No. 24 Albany.



Yale's roster features multiple two-sport stars, including three who played field hockey and one who played soccer.

Senior attacker Kiwi Comizio (New Vernon, N.J.) was enjoying a breakthrough campaign last year before she suffered an injury that sidelined her for the final three games. She still finished fourth on the team in goals (27) and points (29), with career highs in both categories. Her .600 shooting percentage was best in the Ivy League and 11th in the nation. After missing her senior season of field hockey this past fall, she is likely anxious to get out on the lacrosse field.

Senior attackers Katie Smith (Duxbury, Mass.) and Lily Smith (Duxbury, Mass.), who are identical twins, take the field for one last season together. They have played field hockey all four years at Yale and lacrosse since their sophomore year. Katie appeared in a career-high 10 games last season, scoring a pair of goals. Lily appeared in 12 games, making four starts, and scored eight goals.

Junior defender Keri Cavallo (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) joined the lacrosse team last season, appearing in four games. She has been playing soccer for Yale for the past three seasons.



Senior Sydney Marks brings two years of starting experience into her final season for the Bulldogs. She played all 30 games over the past two seasons, totaling more than 1675:00 in goal. Last season she posted a .429 save percentage and had four games with 10 or more saves -- including a season-high 16 at Columbia. In her sophomore season she finished second in the Ivy League in saves (130). 

Marks made four saves in the season-opening 12-10 win vs. then-No. 24 Albany.



The 2018 slate includes eight games against teams that made the NCAA tournament last season. Yale also has seven games against teams ranked in the top 25 of the IWLCA preseason poll: No. 6 Boston College, No. 9 Princeton, No. 12 Penn, No. 13 Cornell, No. 18 UMass, No. 19 Towson and No. 24 Albany.

Yale's 15 regular-season games include seven Ivy League games and eight non-league games. This is the ninth 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.



Former US National Team member Erica LaGrow was announced as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse on July 1, 2015. Her first two seasons in New Haven saw the Bulldogs make many strides. In her first season they were in contention for a spot in the Ivy League Tournament until the final game, and they saw year-to-year improvements in their shooting percentage, free position shooting percentage, draw controls, clears and save percentage. In her second season, the team set the school records for goals in a season, points in a season and draw controls in a season. Yale also beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2010.

In LaGrow's two seasons in New Haven, Yale has had one All-Region honoree, one All-ECAC honoree and six All-Ivy League honorees (one first team, one second team, four honorable mention). Additionally, Yale earned IWLCA Academic Squad recognition in 2016 and 2017, and has had a total of 19 IWLCA Academic Honor Roll selections.

Prior to joining the Bulldogs, LaGrow spent seven years as an assistant coach at Florida. She helped the Gators make five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, win five regular season conference championships and win three conference tournament championships. She also has a gold medal from the Women's World Cup during her time playing with the National Team.



Quinnipiac (0-1, 0-0 MAAC) fell 18-7 at Brown in the season opener last Saturday. The Bobcats fell behind 7-0 and 12-2, and the majority of the second half was played with a running clock. Brown had a 39-16 advantage in shots and limited the Bobcats to a 15-for-21 performance on clears. Attacker Emily Byrne led Quinnipiac with three goals, while defender Kiera Kelly -- a first team All-ECAC and All-MAAC honoree last year -- had four caused turnovers and three ground balls.

Former Yale assistant coach Tanya Kotowicz is in her second season as the Bobcats' head coach. The team made the MAAC playoffs for the first time last year, and was picked for sixth in the conference preseason poll this year.

Quinnipiac's new Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium opened this past fall for soccer season. This will be the first women's lacrosse game in the new facility.


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