March 28, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - After falling behind a minute into Saturday afternoon's game at Harvard, the Yale Bulldogs spent most of the rest of the day trying to fight their way back even. They finally did so by stringing together three straight goals in the early part of the second half. But after an unassisted goal by senior midfielder Jenn Warden tied the game at five, Harvard reeled off three unanswered goals of its own to come away with an 8-5 win.
This marked the fifth straight game in which the Yale defense has held its opponent under its season goals-per-game average. The eight goals Harvard scored Saturday tied a season low for the Crimson, who had totaled 41 goals in the three games prior.
The defensive tone for the day was set early on. A goal by Crimson attacker Jess Halpern was answered by junior attacker Jenna Block off a feed from junior attacker Jessica Sturgill on a free position six minutes later, and the two teams then went scoreless for nearly 16 minutes.
Part of that scoreless streak was due to the work of freshman goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush, whose 12 saves on the day included a denial of a free position shot by attacker Kaitlin Martin with 10:25 left in the half. The Crimson finally broke the drought with a free position goal by midfielder Katie Doherty at 7:13. Harvard then got the draw control and got another goal from Halpern to go up 3-1.
Sophomore midfielder Logan Greer got Yale back within one at 3:31. She had the ball knocked away from her on a drive to the cage but stayed with the play, regained possession and snuck one past Harvard goalie Kerry Clark (five saves). Quackenbush followed that up with a save on Halpern, with sophomore defender Fielding Kidd picking up the ground ball for one of her three ground balls on the day. But another free position goal, this one by Martin, gave Harvard (4-5, 1-1 Ivy League) a 4-2 halftime lead.
Halpern extended the lead with a free position goal, her 32nd goal of the year, a minute into the second half. But right after that Block responded with a nice goal, backing her defender down low before reversing direction and going lefty to beat Clark. Quackenbush came up with a pair of big saves after that, and after a false start negated a free position attempt for Harvard the Bulldogs took advantage by scoring in transition. Warden worked the ball up to junior midfielder Sarah David, who quickly got it to sophomore midfielder Ariana Papier for the goal that pulled Yale within one.
Warden's goal then tied the score, but Yale (2-7, 0-3 Ivy League) missed two great chances to take the lead. One was a free position shot that was deflected high and the other was a shot by Warden off a feed from Block that Clark denied. Shortly after Clark made a save on another Yale free position shot, Martin started her own run of three straight goals that got her to 30 for the year and gave Harvard an 8-5 lead. That was too much for the Bulldogs, who were hurt by 10 second-half turnovers -- including one with 2:30 to play that allowed Harvard to run out the clock.
"Defensively, we played well," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Whitney made some great saves. But we can't spend 45 minutes per game playing defense. We had some turnovers, and I think a lot of them came from fatigue. When the defense is trying to get the ball out of our own end over and over again, that's when those turnovers happen. We've got to play better on attack."
Yale visits Holy Cross Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity