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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The final home game of the season for the Yale women's lacrosse team takes place Saturday, as the Bulldogs host Ivy League rival Dartmouth (1:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network, ESPN3). The Bulldogs will honor their six seniors -- defender Marisa Cresham, attacker Hope Hanley, attacker Tess McEvoy, defender Emily Markham, defender Victoria Moore and defender Ashley Perselay -- before the game. That group has led the team to 28 wins over the past three seasons, and a victory over Dartmouth would make them the third Yale class in the last 33 years to beat the Big Green three times in their career.
LAST TIME OUT: BULLDOGS FALL TO NO. 6 PRINCETON
Trailing by seven at halftime last Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium against No. 6 Princeton, Yale started rallying -- two goals by senior attacker Tess McEvoy, plus one by junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna, gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 run and some momentum. But after a Princeton timeout the Tigers regrouped, outscoring Yale 5-1 the rest of the way and finishing with a 17-9 win. For Yale, senior attacker Hope Hanley had a pair of assists to get to 44 for the season -- a school record.
OFFENSE ON RECORD PACE
Yale is averaging 13.36 goals per game this season, a dramatic improvement over last season (7.87 goals per game). The Bulldogs are on pace for 214 goals, which would break the school record (204 goals, 1999). They are also on pace for 104 assists, which would be second-most in school history.
Yale currently is second in the Ivy League in shooting percentage (.447), an improvement of 68 percentage points compared to last season (.379). Three Bulldogs with 30 or more shots are shooting .480 or better: senior attacker Hope Hanley (.622, best in the Ivy League), junior attacker Kiwi Comizio (.600, second-best in the league), and sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (.480).
HANLEY KEEPS SETTING RECORDS
Senior attacker Hope Hanley set the Yale single season record with her 44th assist last Saturday vs. Princeton, breaking a mark established by Laura Karmatz '96 in 1994. Hanley has already established career highs in goals, assists and points (28-44-72). She leads the Ivy League in points and assists (second in the NCAA). Her .622 shooting percentage is first among players in the Ivy League with 30 or more shots. She has at least two points in 13 of 14 games this season.
Hanley is 17 points away from tying the single-season Yale points record (89), set by Tracy Ball '81 in 1980.
On Apr. 3 Hanley was named US Lacrosse Player of the Week. She totaled 16 points in three games, including tying the Yale records for assists and points (3-8-11) in a game in the 15-12 win vs. then-No. 19 Stanford Apr. 1. She had a hand in 11 of Yale's 15 goals that night as the Bulldogs swept a doubleheader (their first in 13 years), having beaten Sacred Heart 17-5 earlier in the day. Hanley had two goals and two assists against the Pioneers. She also had a goal in the 19-12 loss at No. 17 Boston College Mar. 29.
On Feb. 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. 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 AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN GOALS, POINTS, CTs
Senior attacker Tess McEvoy, Yale's captain, is fourth in the Ivy League in goals with 39 and points with 54. She has had least two points in 13 of 14 games this season, and has scored five goals in a game three times. She also is seventh in the league in caused turnovers with 20. She is 12th on Yale's career goals list and tied for 12th on Yale's career points list (106-32-138).
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 fifth on the team in goals and third on the team in assists and points (24-12-36) after having just one goal and one point last season. She has a point in 13 of 14 games this season, with a season high of eight (6-2-8) in the 19-10 win at Marist Feb. 28. She is second in the league in draw controls with 71. She has had at least one draw control in every game this season, with a high of 11 Apr. 1 vs. Stanford.
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.
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 206 draw controls this season, compared to 162 for their opponents (a .560 winning percentage). Sophomore attacker Izzy Nixon (71 draws, second) and junior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna (36 draws, sixth) give Yale two of the top six in draw controls in the league. Yale as a team leads the league with 206 draws, three more than second-place Dartmouth.
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 14 games. They have combined for 73 ground balls and 40 caused turnovers.
Cresham, who had one career start prior to this season, has established career highs in ground balls (15), draw controls (19, third on the team) and caused turnovers (9). Markham, who has not missed a game in her career, was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year. She has 18 ground balls and nine 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 30 ground balls this season and has 13 caused turnovers (second on the team). Perselay made her first career start this season and has contributed nine caused turnovers, 10 ground balls and two draw controls so far.
DEPTH IN GOAL
Junior goalkeeper Sydney Marks has started 12 of 14 games this season and has a .438 save percentage along with a 12.23 goals-against average. Sophomore Allie Carrigan started the other two games, and has a .500 save percentage and an 8.34 goals-against average. The duo has combined to limit opponents to a .409 shooting percentage and a 32-for-79 performance (.405) 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.
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. 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 third on the team in goals and fourth in points (27-2-29), 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 11 games (four starts) this season and Katie appearing in 10.
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 six games, making two starts and posting a .500 save percentage.
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.
OPPONENTS IN THE POLL
Six of Yale's opponents are currently ranked or receiving votes in the IWLCA poll. The Bulldogs will play No. 10 Penn in the regular season finale. They have already played No. 4 Stony Brook, No. 6 Princeton, No. 12 Cornell, No. 18 Boston College and Albany (receiving votes). Stanford, currently unranked, was ranked No. 19 when the Bulldogs beat the Cardinal Apr 1. That was Yale's first win vs. a ranked opponent since an 11-9 win at then-No. 13 BU Mar. 24, 2010.
LaGROW GOES "BEHIND THE WHISTLE"
Erica LaGrow, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, recently wrote an entry for the IWLCA's "Behind the Whistle" blog. You can read her "Ten Signs That You Are in Lacrosse Season" at https://iwlca.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/ten-signs-that-you-are-in-lacrosse-season/.
Dartmouth (5-8, 0-5 Ivy League) has had an up-and-down season, opening with four straight wins but going 1-8 since. Six of the Big Green's eight losses have come against teams that were ranked in the top 20 or receiving votes.
The Big Green features one of the Ivy League's top goal scorers in attacker Courtney Weisse, who is seventh in the league with 34 goals. She matched her career highs with five goals and six points in Dartmouth's 14-12 loss to No. 12 Cornell last Saturday. Dartmouth also has the Ivy League leader in draw controls -- midfielder Kathryn Giroux, who had 13 in the loss to Cornell and has 91 for the season. Those are both Dartmouth records, and her season draw control total is second on the Ivy League record list -- trailing only the 104 Yale's Nicole Daniggelis '16 had in 2014.
The Big Green is in its first season with Danielle Spencer as head coach. She was an assistant coach at her alma mater, Northwestern, for the previous four seasons. She helped Northwestern to four NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of berths in the Final Four.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity