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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2014 -- and coming off a thrilling 16-15 overtime win vs. Harvard in the Ivy League opener last Saturday -- the Yale women's lacrosse team starts Spring Break with a trip to a pair of MAAC opponents in western New York. The Bulldogs play at Canisius Sunday (1:00 p.m., ESPN3) and at Niagara Tuesday (1:00 p.m., Niagara Sports Network).
HISTORIC WIN VS. HARVARD MOVES YALE TO 4-0
Yale (4-0, 1-0 Ivy League) earned a dramatic 16-15 overtime win at Reese Stadium vs. archrival Harvard last time out, as senior attacker Kiwi Comizio (New Vernon, N.J.) scored the game-winning goal -- her first since returning from injury. Sophomore midfielder Barrett Carlson (St. Louis, Mo.) had four goals and an assist, while first-year midfielder Sam Higgins (Shoreham, N.Y.) got her first career hat trick and an assist. Junior attacker Izzy Nixon (Greenwich, Conn.) had 11 draw controls, including a critical one at the start of overtime. Senior midfielder Emily Granger (Grasonville, Md.) had two goals and two assists, including one on Comizio's game-winner. That play was recently selected as one of the NCAA's Top 10 Plays of the Week.
That was Yale's first win vs. Harvard since 2010, snapping a streak of seven Crimson wins in the series.
Senior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (Summit, N.J.) earned the team's captaincy -- as voted by her teammates -- with contributions last year 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. So far this season she has continued to contribute in a variety of ways, with nine draw controls (second on the team), five ground balls, three caused turnovers and four goals.
Gramigna is a psychology major in Trumbull College. Her father and grandfather both played football at Yale's Ivy League rival, Penn.
NIXON CONTROLS DRAWS
The Bulldogs rely heavily on junior attacker Izzy Nixon (Greenwich, Conn.), starting with her excellence on the draw. She leads the nation in draw controls per game (10.75), and has at least 10 draws in every game this year. She is a big reason why Yale as a team is eighth nationally and first in the Ivy League in draw controls per game (16.75). Nixon also contributes offensively, as she is tied for third on the team in points (6-5-9) and is second in assists.
Last year Nixon 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, making her the lone returning all-league pick for the Bulldogs this year.
Nixon is political science major in Trumbull college. Her parents are both Ivy Leaguers (they graduated from Princeton).
DUPERROUZEL LEADS OFFENSE
First-year attacker Kayla Duperrouzel (Fairfax Station, Va.) has quickly taken on a key role in Yale's offense. She leads the Bulldogs in goals and points (12-3-15), and is tied for sixth in the Ivy League in goals per game (3.00). She has at least two goals in every game, and has the best shooting percentage (.600) among Bulldogs with seven or more shots.
After totaling seven goals and three assists in Yale's wins vs. Quinnipiac and then-No. 19 UMass, Duperrouzel was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week on Feb. 26 and Inside Lacrosse National Rookie of the Week on Feb. 28.
Duperrouzel was a US Lacrosse first team All-American, USA Today All-USA and US Lacrosse All-Academic in 2017 at Bishop Ireton. She played for Capital Lacrosse Club and has volunteered with Adaptive Lacrosse, teaching people with physical or mental impairments how to play lacrosse. She is in Saybrook College at Yale.
MARKS IN GOAL
Senior Sydney Marks (Chappaqua, N.Y.) has totaled 19 saves in the last two games, including 11 in the 14-9 upset of then-No. 19 UMass. She had seven saves in the first two games.
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 is a psychology major in Jonathan Edwards College.
TWO-SPORT STARS GALORE
Yale's roster features multiple two-sport stars, including three who played field hockey, one who plays soccer and one who plays ice hockey.
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 returned to action for the lacrosse team with an assist in the season-opening 12-10 win vs. then-No. 24 Albany. She then scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Yale's 16-15 win vs. Harvard Mar. 3. That was her first goal since coming back.
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.
Junior midfielder Jordan Chancellor (Ramsey, Minn.) is the latest two-sport addition to the Bulldogs' roster, as she joined the team at the end of women's ice hockey season. On the ice, she had three goals and five assists in 31 games for the Bulldogs.
The 2018 Yale slate includes eight games against teams that made the NCAA tournament last season (Albany, Boston College, Canisius, Cornell, Penn, Princeton, Towson and UMass).
The Bulldogs have played two teams that were ranked in the IWLCA poll so far, beating then-No. 24 Albany 12-10 Feb. 17 and then-No. 19 UMass 14-9 Feb. 24. Of Yale's 12 remaining opponents in the regular season, five are ranked in the top 25 of the latest IWLCA poll: No. 4 Boston College, No. 10 Towson, No. 13 Penn, No 14 Princeton and No. 22 Cornell.
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.
ERICA LaGROW, YALE'S JOEL E. SMILOW, CLASS OF 1954 HEAD COACH OF WOMEN'S LACROSSE
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 a number of 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.
Canisius (1-3, 0-0 MAAC), which hosts Delaware Friday night, just picked up its first win of the season by edging Binghamton 13-12 on Monday. The Golden Griffins have been regulars in the NCAA Tournament recently, making four appearances in the first round and two in the play-in game thanks to winning the MAAC Tournament six times in seven years. They have not lost a regular season conference game since 2014 (24 straight wins).
Allison Daley took over as the Golden Griffins' head coach this offseason after Scott Teeter departed for Louisville. Canisius lost midfielder Erica Evans, an All-American last year, to an injury this past fall. With Evans sidelined, midfielder Jen Reininger has emerged as the team's top scorer (13-2-15). She is shooting .684. Goalie Rebecca VanLaeken has a .505 save percentage and a 14.01 goals-against average.
Niagara (3-2, 0-0 MAAC), which plays at Denver Saturday, has dropped two in a row since starting the season 3-0. The Bulldogs beat the Purple Eagles 13-4 in a frigid, snowy game last season, led by five goals from Tess McEvoy '17 and a 22-9 advantage in ground balls.
Attacker Rachel MacCheyne leads the Purple Eagles in scoring (17-7-24) and draw controls (38). Goalie Olivia Schroeder has a .452 save percentage and a 13.65 goals-against average.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity