NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With seven games on the schedule against teams ranked in the preseason top 25, the Yale women's lacrosse team knew that it would test itself against some of the best in the country this year. And so far, the Bulldogs have proven fully capable of accepting that challenge. The most recent evidence came Saturday, when they jumped out to an 8-1 lead on No. 19 UMass en route to a convincing 14-9 win at Reese Stadium.
After taking down then-No. 24 Albany in the season opener, Yale (3-0, 0-0 Ivy League) had little time to celebrate that win. The Bulldogs followed that up with a mid-week game at Quinnipiac -- beating the Bobcats 13-8 -- before preparing for UMass.
"We fought for that Quinnipiac game; they are a talented team and they are only getting better," said Erica LaGrow, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "There were adjustments we wanted to make after that game, though. Our team buckled down, and we looked at everything with a critical eye. I'm proud of the way they came together. That doesn't start on game day, that's something you do every day."
With rain pouring down throughout the game the Bulldogs landed an early knockout blow in this one, opening an 8-1 lead within the first 15 minutes. First-year attacker Kayla Duperrouzel was the driving force offensively, scoring four of those goals.
"Kayla does an excellent job of preparing for games," said LaGrow. "She came ready to compete today, and has been a tremendous asset to our program."
Any attempts at a comeback for UMass (1-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10) were stymied by the Bulldogs' continued dominance on the draw control, which LaGrow credited to assistant coach Molly Hulseman. Junior attacker Izzy Nixon had 12 draws -- her third double-digit draw total this season -- and senior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna added five, helping Yale to an 18-7 advantage in the circle. UMass never strung together more than three goals, and never got closer than within four goals after Yale's early outburst.
Senior goalkeeper Sydney Marks helped seal the win with several big stops down the stretch, finishing with 11 saves -- nine in the second half. That was more than her combined total for the first two games (seven).
"Sydney and [first-year goalkeeper] Amelia [Drake] work very hard with Coach Colleen Smith, and I think Sydney is really hitting her stride. She came up huge for our team."
LaGrow also credited Yale's defense, which lost four starters to graduation last spring but has emerged as a strong suit in the early part of 2018 thanks to contributions from some new sources.
"[Senior] Taryn [Gallagher] is doing an excellent job defensively, and [senior] Cooper Hall has also taken on a leadership role," said LaGrow. "[Junior] Eliot Schulte and [sophomore] Margaret Stover show up and compete every day. I'm really proud of how they have come together. Every member of our defense played a role in helping our offense prepare for a very talented and athletic UMass team."
Duperrouzel finished with five goals and an assist, while senior midfielder Emily Granger had a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Sophomore midfielder Barrett Carlson had two goals and an assist, junior midfielder Addie Zinsner had two goals, Nixon had a goal and an assist, and Gramigna and sophomore midfielder Vanessa Yu had one each.
Granger, Marks and Stover led Yale with three ground balls each.
Yale hosts Harvard to start Ivy League play next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity