Yale Visits Harvard Saturday

March 25, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After three straight games against nationally ranked foes, Yale faces a challenge of a different kind on Saturday: a rivalry game against Harvard (1:00 p.m., Live Statistics on Harvard Website). No matter how each team does against the rest of its schedule, the Bulldogs and the Crimson always seem to play each other close. Nine of the last 15 meetings have been decided by two goals or fewer, so expect this one to go down to the wire.

Yale jumped out to a 6-0 lead in last year's meeting at Johnson Field -- allowing Harvard only one shot in the game's first 20 minutes. Even though play evened up after that, the Bulldogs still came away with a 14-6 win. Senior midfielder Jenn Warden (Edgemont, Pa.) led the way with four goals and six points. It marked the second straight win for Yale after Harvard snapped an 11-game Bulldog winning streak in the series (including six one-goal wins) with an 11-8 win in 2006.

Yale (2-6, 0-2 Ivy League) reached the midpoint of its season with a frustrating loss to then-No. 19 Dartmouth last Sunday. The Bulldogs held the Big Green to a season-low eight goals, but got only six themselves. Freshman goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush (Manhasset, N.Y.) made nine saves and now has stopped 41 of 75 shots (.547) in her last four games.

Harvard (3-5, 0-1 Ivy League) has an offense that features two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week Jess Halpern. The sophomore attacker has 29 goals and has scored in 19 straight games dating back to last season. Halpern, attacker Kaitlin Martin (26 goals), attacker Sara Flood (13) and midfielder/attacker Tyler Petropoulos (13) have combined for 81 of Harvard's 98 goals (83 percent). The five-foot-10 Petropoulos also has a team-high 22 draw controls (tie), 23 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers. Goalie Kerry Clark has a .391 save percentage and a 12.76 goals-against average.

Harvard is 0-3 against common opponents with Yale, losing to BU (17-12), New Hampshire (11-9 in overtime) and UMass (13-12). Yale beat UMass 7-4 but lost to BU 12-6 and New Hampshire 12-4.

Both teams feature relatively young rosters. Harvard has just four seniors on its roster of 19 and Yale has just two seniors on its roster of 24. Saturday's matchup will be the first encounter between Anne Phillips, who is in her first season as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, and Lisa Miller, who is in her second season as head coach at Harvard.

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

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