NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- It was an epic victory for the Yale women's lacrosse team defined by a moment that would make months of injury rehab worth it for one player in particular. Senior attacker Kiwi Comizio -- a two-sport star whose injury cost her the final three games of the 2017 lacrosse season and all of the 2017 field hockey season -- capped a back-and-forth battle with Harvard at Reese Stadium Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs at 4:36 of overtime. The win moves Yale to 4-0 for the first time since 2014 and ends a string of seven Harvard wins in the series.
"This is a huge win for our program," said Erica LaGrow, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "I'm proud of our players -- the way they compete, and the way they have committed to what we are doing. They have all played an integral role in our success. Our assistant coaches, Colleen Smith and Molly Hulseman, do an excellent job preparing our team to execute on game day."
The game-winning play was set up by Bulldogs junior attacker Izzy Nixon winning the draw control at the start of overtime -- her 11th draw control of the day. The Bulldogs eventually isolated senior midfielder Emily Granger on the right side, where she drove to goal and drew the attention of the Crimson defense before passing to a wide-open Comizio just outside the crease. After gathering in Granger's pass, Comizio drove to goal and fired the ball into the right side of the net, touching off a wild celebration.
A two-sport star throughout her time at Yale, Comizio had been out of action for nearly a year before returning for the 12-10 win over then-No. 24 Albany in the season opener. Saturday's goal was the first of her comeback.
"I'm really happy for Kiwi and proud of how she battled through her injury," said LaGrow. "She is someone we always know we can count on in the clutch."
To get to Comizio's heroics, however, the Bulldogs had to deal with some early adversity. Midway through the first half, they trailed 5-2 -- and Harvard had won seven of the first eight draws, negating what had been a Bulldog strength.
"It's only natural to need some time to settle in at the start of a big game," said LaGrow. "Credit to Harvard, they did an excellent job on the draw. It was a matter of us making some adjustments."
Junior attacker Addie Zinsner -- another player who missed time last year due to injury -- got the comeback started with a free position goal at 10:46, the start of a 5-1 Yale run. Harvard got the final goal of the half, though, leaving the teams knotted 7-7 at the break.
After falling behind 8-7, Yale rallied for a 10-8 lead on a pair of goals by sophomore midfielder Barrett Carlson. She finished the day with four goals and an assist.
"Barrett did an excellent job," said LaGrow. "She took on a new on-field role a few weeks ago and has made it her own. She is so athletic and versatile making it a seamless transition. It was nice to see her have so much success today."
Harvard eventually rallied to tie the game 11-11 before a 4-2 Yale run -- capped by a goal from Carlson -- gave the Bulldogs a 15-13 lead with 6:34 left. The Crimson stayed persistent, though, and tied the game with 2:55 left.
Then the combination of Nixon's draw control, Granger's assist and Comizio's goal finally put the Crimson away.
Senior goalkeeper Sydney Marks finished with seven saves. In addition to Carlson, Yale also got a hat trick from first-year midfielder Sam Higgins. Those two were joined by six other goal scorers on the day -- two each from Granger, first-year attacker Kayla Duperrouzel and senior midfielder Madeleine Gramigna and one each from Comizio, Nizon and Zinsner.
"We have such a selfless team," said LaGrow. "At any one point, any player could step up. Today was Sam's day. She works extremely hard on the field and in the office watching film. She has this competitive fire, and we are lucky to have her at Yale."
Carlson led Yale in ground ball with three, while sophomore defender Margaret Stover added two.
Yale returns to action next Sunday with a trip to Canisius.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity