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Yale Takes On No. 7 Cornell at Reese Saturday

Marisa Cresham. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Marisa Cresham. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's lacrosse team looks to knock off the only 2-0 team in the Ivy League, No. 7 Cornell, this Saturday at Reese Stadium (1:00 p.m., Facebook Live, Ivy League Digital Network). The Big Red, the defending Ivy League Tournament Champion, is riding a four-game winning streak that includes a pair of wins against ranked teams. Yale has won two in a row and five of its last seven.

 

IVY LEAGUE'S FACEBOOK LIVE WEEK

Saturday's broadcast can be seen on Facebook Live on the Yale Athletics Facebook Page. It is part of the Ivy League's "Facebook Live Week", in which 13 events from the Ivy League Digital Network will be streamed live on Facebook. Yale-Cornell is one of five women's lacrosse games on the league's "Facebook Live Week" schedule -- the full list is available on the Ivy League website.

YOUTH DAY
Saturday is Youth Day at Reese Stadium. There will be a post-game autograph session with the Yale team following the game.

LAST TIME OUT: BULLDOGS RALLY PAST BROWN 12-10

Trailing 10-6 with 24:03 left at Brown this past Saturday, Yale staged a memorable rally to earn its first Ivy League win of the season. The Bulldogs outscored the Bears 6-0 down the stretch, getting the go-ahead goal from junior midfielder Emily Granger at 9:57 and an insurance goal from junior attacker Lily Smith at 7:34 to finish off a 12-10 win. Junior goalkeeper Sydney Marks made five saves in the first half and sophomore goalkeeper Allie Carrigan made four in the second half. Junior attacker Kiwi Comizio and sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon had hat tricks, and Nixon added seven draw controls. Yale shot .500 (12-24).

 

STRONG SECOND HALVES POWER BULLDOGS

Yale has allowed just two second-half goals in the last two games -- one from the field and one on a free position shot. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 52-30 in the second half this season. While rallying past Brown this past Saturday, Yale outshot the Bears 13-7 in the second half after being outshot 18-11 in the first.

 

SHARP SHOOTERS

Yale currently leads the Ivy League in shooting percentage (.487), an improvement of more than 100 percentage points compared to last season (.379). Three Bulldogs with 20 or more shots are shooting .600 or better: sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (.629), junior attacker Kiwi Comizio (.619) and senior attacker Hope Hanley (.600).

Among players with 20 or more shots in each of the past two seasons, all have improved their shooting percentages: Comizio from .333 to .619, Hanley from .469 to .600 and senior attacker Tess McEvoy from .402 to .417.

 

HANLEY LEADS LEAGUE IN ASSISTS, POINTS

Senior attacker Hope Hanley has already established career highs in goals, assists and points (18-23-41). She is leading the Ivy League in assists (fourth in the NCAA) and points. Her .600 shooting percentage is fourth among players in the Ivy League with 20 or more shots. She has at least two points in every game this season.

On Mar. 27 Hanley earned Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Week after totaling 19 points in two wins. That was the first weekly award of the season for any Yale player. Hanley earned it after a scoring spree that started with a 10-point game (4-6-10) Feb. 21 against Quinnipiac as Yale beat the Bobcats 21-3. The only record of anyone with more points in a game for Yale is an 11-goal game by Tracy Ball '81 at Cornell Apr. 5, 1980. Hanley followed that up with five goals and four assists in the 15-4 win vs. Robert Morris Feb. 26.

A political science major in Ezra Stiles College, Hanley was a US Lacrosse All-American in high school while playing for Loomis Chaffee.

 

McEVOY LEADS LEAGUE IN GOALS, CTs

Senior attacker Tess McEvoy, Yale's captain, leads the Ivy League in goals with 25 and is second in points with 35. She has had least two points in every game this season, and has scored five goals in a game three times. She also is tied for the league lead in caused turnovers with 17.

Last season McEvoy was a second team All-Ivy League honoree and earned the Team MVP award. She started all 15 games -- making her one of only four Bulldogs to do so -- and had nine hat tricks. She finished fifth in the league with 35 goals, leading Yale with 43 points (35-8-43) while establishing career highs in all three categories.

A political science major in Saybrook College, McEvoy was an Under Armour All-American and a US Lacrosse All-American at Georgetown Visitation. She also played for Capital Lacrosse Club.

 

NIXON EMERGES AS FACTOR ON ATTACK, DRAW CONTROLS

Sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon has emerged as a threat in multiple ways this year. She is second on the team in goals and third on the team in assists and points (22-6-28) after having just one goal and one point last season. She has scored at least two goals, and had at least three points, in each of the last five games. Her .629 shooting percentage is best in the Ivy League among players with 20 or more shots. She also leads the league in draw controls with 36. She has had at least one draw control in every game this season, with a high of seven (Mar. 4 at Harvard, Mar. 18 at Brown).

A member of Trumbull College, Nixon was a two-time All-American at Greenwich Academy. She also played for CT Grizzlies. In 2015 she was published in a peer-reviewed medical journal while a research assistant at Stamford Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine.

 

CONTROLLING THE DRAW

The graduation of Nicole Daniggelis '16, the Ivy League's all-time leader in draw controls, does not appear to have affected Yale's ability to win the draw control battle. The Bulldogs have 121 draw controls this season, compared to 80 for their opponents. Sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (36 draws, first) and junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (29 draws, fourth) give Yale two of the top four in draw controls in the league. Yale as a team leads the league with 121 draws, 24 more than any other team. The Bulldogs are 10th in the country in draws per game (15.13).

 

FREE POSITION EDGE

Yale has connected on 13 of 31 free position attempts this season (.419). Yale's opponents, on the other hand, are just 9-for-30 on free positions (.300).

 

VETERAN DEFENSE

The Yale defense has the rare luxury of having all four seniors starting: Marisa Cresham, Emily Markham, Victoria Moore and Ashley Perselay have each started all eight games. They have combined for 43 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers.

Cresham, who had one career start prior to this season, has established career highs in ground balls (12), draw controls (11) and caused turnovers (6). Markham, who has not missed a game in her career, was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year. She had a career-high 18 ground balls, adding 10 caused turnovers. Moore, who also has not missed a game in her career, was a second team All-Ivy pick as a sophomore when she had a career-high 19 caused turnovers (third in the Ivy League). Perselay made her first career start this season and has contributed six caused turnovers, three ground balls and two draw controls so far.

The two non-senior defenders who have started games this season are junior Cooper Hall (four starts) and freshman Margaret Stover (three starts).

 

DEPTH IN GOAL

Junior goalkeeper Sydney Marks returns after seizing the opportunity to start last year, finishing second in the Ivy League with 130 saves. That included five games with 10 or more saves, and a career-high 19 at Princeton. She started all 15 games, giving way to sophomore Allie Carrigan for just 1:23.

Marks has started six of eight games this season, and has a .427 save percentage and a 10.03 goals-against average. Carrigan started the other two games, and has a .457 save percentage and an 8.98 goals-against average. The duo has combined to limit opponents to a .404 shooting percentage and a 9-for-30 performance (.300) on free position shots.

 

JUNIORS LEAD THE WAY IN THE MIDFIELD

With no senior midfielders, the Bulldogs are building around a talented group of younger players at that position. The junior midfielders have plenty of experience, with all three players appearing in at least 13 games last year. Taryn Gallagher appeared in all 15 games, earning two starts, and chipped in seven goals. Madeleine Gramigna also appeared in all 15 games, starting 13, and finished second on the team in draw controls with 17. She also had six goals. Emily Granger appeared in 13 games and scored eight goals.

 

TWO-SPORT STARS GALORE

A significant chunk of Yale's roster spent this past fall playing other sports, including four who played field hockey and one who played soccer. Kiwi Comizio continues to emerge as one of the best all-around athletes at Yale; she is coming off a field hockey season in which she led Yale in assists while extending her streak of consecutive starts to 51. On the lacrosse field, she is coming off a season in which she was fifth on the team in points (9-5-14). She appeared in 14 games, starting 13. She has already surpassed that goal total this season, and is fourth on the team in goals and points (13-2-15).

While Comizio has played two sports throughout her time at Yale, others have made the move later in their careers. The Bulldogs' attack got a lot deeper last year with the addition of identical twins Katie Smith and Lily Smith, who had only played field hockey their freshman year. As two-sport stars last year they both showed the ability to contribute, with Katie appearing in eight lacrosse games and Lily appearing in 15 -- including eight starts. Katie scored six goals (on just seven shots), and Lily finished fourth on the team in goals and tied for fourth in points (11-3-14).

Sophomore Allie Carrigan spent her freshman year playing only lacrosse, seeing 1:23 of action as a backup goalie. This past fall she showcased her athleticism by joining the field hockey team and playing forward, finishing third on the team in points (6-1-13). So far this season she has appeared in four games, making two starts and posting a .457 save percentage.

Three of those field hockey players -- Comizio, Katie Smith and Lily Smith -- were honored Mar. 15 with selection to the NFHCA National Academic Squad for their work in the classroom.

Sophomore defender Keri Cavallo is the latest two-sport addition to Yale's roster. She spent the past two falls playing soccer for Yale, and has made 22 starts for the soccer team in that span.

 

SCHEDULE

Yale's 2017 slate includes six games against teams that made the NCAA tournament last season. Yale's 16 regular-season games include seven Ivy League games and nine non-league games, including a double-header on Apr. 1 (Sacred Heart and Stanford at Reese Stadium). This is the eighth 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.

Five of Yale's opponents are currently ranked in the IWLCA poll. In addition to the game Saturday vs. No. 7(t) Cornell, the Bulldogs will also play No. 5 Princeton, No. 11 Penn and No. 18 Stanford. They have already played No. 7(t) Stony Brook.

 

SCOUTING CORNELL

Cornell (5-1, 2-0 Ivy League) is coming off a thrilling 11-10 win over No. 9 Southern California this past Sunday in Boston. The Big Red got 10 saves from goalie Renee Poullott, and the game-winning goal from midfielder Taylor Reed on a free position with 1:52 left, to win its fourth game in a row.

Cornell's only loss this season was by one goal, 9-8 to No. 10 Penn State Feb. 25. The Big Red is the only team that is 2-0 in the Ivy League, having beaten No. 11 Penn 10-4 and Columbia 14-11.

The Big Red has one of the deepest attacks in the Ivy League -- Cornell is the only Ivy team with five players averaging 2.3 or more points per game. Attacker/midfielder Amie Dickson leads the way with 24 points (8-16-24), while attacker Catherine Ellis leads in goals with 15 and has a nine-game goal scoring streak. They are two of five seniors who have started all six games for a highly experienced Cornell squad.

Poullott, a four-year starter who was a second team All-Region and second team All-Ivy League pick last year, has a .500 save percentage and a 7.30 goals-against average (second in the NCAA). Both marks would be career bests if she can keep them up. Defender Catie Smith was a preseason second team All-America pick by Inside Lacrosse and is on the Watch List for the Tewaaraton Award. She leads the team with 14 caused turnovers.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

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