Let’s Play Two! SHU, No. 19 Stanford at Reese Saturday

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


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It is not an April Fool's Day joke or a misprint on the schedule. The Yale women's lacrosse team will play TWO games this Saturday at Reese Stadium -- just the second time in 37 years that the Bulldogs will play two games in the same day. First up is local rival Sacred Heart (12:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network), with No. 19 Stanford next (6:00 p.m., ESPN3, Ivy League Digital Network).



Saturday will mark Yale's first doubleheader since Apr. 17, 2004, when the Bulldogs -- ranked No. 14 in the country at the time -- beat Cal 16-6 and beat Monmouth 18-10 at Johnson Field. Miles Whitman '04, a Tewaaraton Award candidate, had seven goals to lead Yale in the first game. Sophie Melniker '04 and Katie Sargent '05 had six goals each in the second game, with Melniker adding six ground balls.

Prior to that, the last doubleheader for Yale had been May 9, 1980, when the Bulldogs played a pair of games at the USWLA Nationals at Princeton. They fell to Harvard 11-6 and William & Mary 11-7.

The only other NCAA Division I teams with scheduled doubleheaders this season were No. 10 Syracuse and No. 17 Virginia Tech. The Orange beat Canisius 18-6 and Binghamton 16-5 on Feb. 18, and the Hokies beat Old Dominion 19-6 and Radford 20-2 on Feb. 25. Syracuse has played a doubleheader in three straight seasons.



Yale fought back from an early 7-1 deficit Wednesday afternoon at BC, getting within one goal of the Eagles midway through the second half thanks to an 8-3 run. But BC responded with a run of its own, reeling off six straight goals to re-take a commanding lead. The Eagles eventually finished with a 19-12 win. Junior attacker Kiwi Comizio led the Bulldogs with five goals, a career high.



Yale is averaging 13.20 goals per game this season, a dramatic improvement over last season (7.87 goals per game). The Bulldogs are on pace for 211 goals, which would break the school record (204 goals, 1999). They are also on pace for 93 assists, which would be third-most in school history.



Yale currently is second in the Ivy League in shooting percentage (.458), an improvement of 79 percentage points compared to last season (.379). Three Bulldogs with 20 or more shots are shooting .537 or better: junior attacker Kiwi Comizio (.667, tops in the Ivy League), senior attacker Hope Hanley (.556) and sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (.537).



Senior attacker Hope Hanley has already established career highs in goals, assists and points (20-26-46). She leads the Ivy League in points and is second in assists (seventh in the NCAA). Her .556 shooting percentage is fourth among players in the Ivy League with 20 or more shots. She has at least two points in nine of 10 games 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.



Senior attacker Tess McEvoy, Yale's captain, is fourth in the Ivy League in goals with 29 and fifth in points with 40. She has had least two points in nine of 10 games this season, and has scored five goals in a game three times. She also is tied for fifth in the league in caused turnovers with 18.

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.



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 (22-8-30) after having just one goal and one point last season. She has scored at least two goals, and had at least three points, in five of the last seven games. Her .537 shooting percentage is seventh in the Ivy League among players with 20 or more shots. She also is second in the league in draw controls with 46. 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 she was a research assistant at Stamford Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine.



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 145 draw controls this season, compared to 112 for their opponents. Sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (46 draws, second) and junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (30 draws, fifth) give Yale two of the top five in draw controls in the league. Yale as a team leads the league with 145 draws, 16 more than any other team.



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 10 games. They have combined for 49 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers.

Cresham, who had one career start prior to this season, has established career highs in ground balls (12), draw controls (16) and caused turnovers (7). Markham, who has not missed a game in her career, was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year. She has 15 ground balls and six CTs this year. 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). She leads Yale with 17 ground balls this season, and has eight caused turnovers. Perselay made her first career start this season and has contributed six caused turnovers, five ground balls and two draw controls so far.

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



Junior goalkeeper Sydney Marks has started eight of 10 games this season and has a .429 save percentage along with an 11.55 goals-against average. Sophomore Allie Carrigan started the other two games, and has a .452 save percentage and a 9.67 goals-against average. The duo has combined to limit opponents to a .416 shooting percentage and a 21-for-50 performance (.420) on free position shots.

Marks seized 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 Carrigan for just 1:23.



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 has appeared in six games this season, including five starts, and has a pair of goals. Madeleine Gramigna has started all 10 games, contributing 11 goals and 30 draw controls (second on the team) along with 16 ground balls (second on the team). Emily Granger has appeared in seven games (six starts) and scored six goals.



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. Junior attacker 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 Comizio is tied for third on the team in goals and is fourth in points (20-2-22), with career highs in both categories.

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 twin junior attackers Katie Smith and Lily Smith, who had only played field hockey their freshman year. As two-sport stars they have both shown the ability to contribute, with Lily appearing in 10 games (four starts) this season and Katie appearing in eight.

Sophomore goalkeeper 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 five games, making two starts and posting a .452 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.



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. 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.



Six of Yale's opponents are currently ranked or receiving votes in the IWLCA poll. The Bulldogs will play No. 7 Princeton, No. 11 Penn and No. 19 Stanford. They have already played No. 5 Stony Brook, No. 8 Cornell and Boston College (receiving votes). Yale's last win vs. a ranked opponent was an 11-9 win at then-No. 13 BU Mar. 24, 2010.



Sacred Heart (2-6, 0-0 NEC) has dropped five games in a row since starting the season 2-1. The Pioneers have allowed double-digit goals in every game except one this season, with a high of 19 in a 19-0 loss at Brown in the season opener. They were picked fourth in the NEC preseason coaches poll, having reached the conference tournament for the first time since 2012 last year. Midfielder Caitlin Delaney leads the team in points (14-10-24), draw controls (23) and caused turnovers (25). Goalie Paige Hammick has a .392 save percentage and a 12.59 goals-against average.



Stanford (7-2, 1-0 MPSF) has won six games in a row, including a 10-9 win at Yale's archrival Harvard this past Tuesday. The Cardinal ranks sixth in the nation in scoring offense (15.22 goals per game) and has scored 15 or more goals in five of its last six games. Stanford is fifth in the nation in caused turnovers per game with 12.67.

Stanford has four players with 20 or more points, led by attacker Kelsey Murray (24-14-38), a second team All-American last year. She is shooting .545. Midfielder Genesis Lucero leads the team in draw controls with 27, one of six Cardinal players in double digits in that category. The team leader in caused turnovers is midfielder Dillon Schoen (15).

Goalie Allie DaCar has a .413 save percentage and a 10.27 goals-against average. Stanford's defense also features Madison O'Leary, whose mother Mandee was Yale's head coach from 1994 through 2007.




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