Bulldogs Unable to Overcome Early Deficit, Fall 15-9 at Stony Brook

March 7, 2009

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STONY BROOK, N.Y. - The first four games of the season have made it clear: if the Yale Bulldogs can fix their first-half woes, they could see a dramatic improvement in their won-lost record. But for now, they sit at just 1-3 after falling 15-9 Saturday afternoon at Stony Brook. The Seawolves outscored the Bulldogs 8-2 in the first half, and after an evenly played 7-7 second half, Stony Brook had a 15-9 win. Senior midfielder Jenn Warden had a team-high four goals for Yale, adding four ground balls as well.

Stony Brook (2-4) scored the first five goals of the game, marking the third time in Yale's first four games that the Bulldogs have fallen behind at least 4-0. Senior midfielder Taylor Fragapane stopped the run by converting on a free position attempt at 15:14. Stony Brook goalie Mickey Cahill stopped a free position shot by freshman attacker Winnie Call 20 seconds later, and Stony Brook came down the field and increased its lead to 6-1 on a free position goal by Kim Wodiska.

Junior attacker Jessica Sturgill cut through the fan to score at 10:30 to pull Yale back within four. Wodiska had a chance to increase the lead denied by freshman goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush with nine minutes left in the period, but the Seawolves scored twice in the final 5:17 to extend the lead to 8-2. The Bulldogs had the ball for an extended possession at the end of the half, but could only manage a long-distance shot from Warden that sailed wide.

After a save by Quackenbush on the opening possession of the second half, the Bulldogs controlled the ball in Stony Brook territory for several minutes. But Cahill stopped a shot by junior midfielder Sarah David, and after Fragapane scooped up the ground ball junior attacker Jessica Sturgill's shot was partially blocked and saved by Cahill.

The Bulldogs finally broke through on their next possession. Cahill got a piece of Warden's low shot, but it trickled over the goal line behind her to pull Yale within 8-3 with 25:54 left in the game. However, Stony Brook got the draw control and scored 13 seconds later.

Neither team could string together more than two straight goals the rest of the way, and that wasn't a pattern conducive to a comeback by Yale. Shortly after the Bulldogs killed off a pair of yellow cards in a span of six seconds, Warden had a goal waved off on a Stony Brook foul before the shot. She scored on the free position attempt to get Yale within 9-4, prompting a Seawolves timeout.

Warden got the draw control after the timeout, but Cahill made a save on Sturgill. An interception by junior attacker Jenna Block gave Yale another opportunity, but Warden had another goal waved off as there was a shooting space call against Stony Brook before she shot. This time she bounced the free position attempt high, and Stony Brook took the ball down the field and extended its lead to 10-4.

The Seawolves scored again 50 seconds later, and the Bulldogs called timeout. Sophomore Katie Janian came on in relief of Quackenbush, and David scored to make it 11-5 with 15:30 to play. But Stony Brook would score three of the next four goals, interrupted only by a Sturgill goal off a feed from Block, to start pulling away. Junior attacker Lindsey DeMarco and Warden scored to bring the Bulldogs within six with 5:33 remaining.

Cahill denied a low shot by DeMarco with 4:30 to play, and while Janian came up with a big save on Kaitlin Leggio in transition at the other end, there was not enough time to spark a Bulldog comeback. Warden scored with 29 seconds left for the 15-9 final.

Stony Brook was led by three goals apiece from Jenna Celano and Amy Hallion. Leggio had four assists, leading the way on a day where 12 of Stony Brook's goals were assisted but just one of Yale's was.

Yale wound up outshooting Stony Brook 32-23, including a 19-12 edge in the second half, but was unable to finish enough of those chances to mount a threat. The Bulldogs were hurt by a 2-for-7 performance on free position shots, though they did have their best performance of the year on clears (13 for 14). The 32 shots also represented a season high for Yale.

The Bulldogs have outscored their first four opponents 21-20 in the second half but have been outscored 27-9 in the first half, contributing greatly to the 1-3 start. Injuries have also not been kind to Yale, with five players sidelined on Saturday.

Yale hosts UMass Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in the Bulldogs' first game in their new home venue, Reese Stadium.

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