NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There were plenty of big numbers posted by the Yale women's lacrosse team Thursday afternoon at Reese Stadium against Niagara -- starting with the score, a 17-10 win. Behind that result were several standout individual performances, including 18 draw controls from senior attacker Izzy Nixon (one shy of the Ivy League record), eight points from first-year attacker Olivia Penoyer (5-3-8) and an eight-caused turnover/eight-ground ball day from sophomore midfielder Sam Higgins.
Thursday's start time was moved up three hours to avoid some of the frigid weather, and the first 20+ minutes wound up being a back-and-forth affair. Yale (3-2, 0-0 Ivy League) jumped out to a 5-3 lead, but Niagara (3-2, 0-0 MAAC) eventually tied the game 5-5 with seven minutes left in the first half. That set up one of the Bulldogs' decisive runs, as they outscored the Purple Eagles 5-0 to head into halftime up 10-5. Penoyer accounted for two of those goals.
After Niagara closed within 11-7 early in the second half the Bulldogs went on another run. This time it was fueled by defense, as they did not allow a Niagara goal for more than 13 minutes. Two tallies by sophomore midfielder Olivia Markert and one by Penoyer in that span helped increase the lead to 14-7.
The duel between Nixon and Niagara attacker Rachel MacCheyne -- who entered the day 1-2 in the nation in draw controls per game -- wound up being a big part of the game. MacCheyne held her own with 11 draw controls, but Nixon once again came up with a dominant effort. She finished one shy of the Ivy League record (19), which she had tied just over a week ago against Hartford.
Penoyer was one of five Bulldogs with multiple points, joined by Markert (4-0-4), first-year midfielder Jill Gollob (2-1-3), first-year midfielder Payton Vaughn (2-1-3) and senior attacker Addie Zinsner (2-0-2). Higgins and first-year attacker Rachel Anderson also scored goals for the Bulldogs.
Higgins was also a big part of Yale's defensive efforts, which included a total of 21 caused turnovers. Yale limited Niagara to a 14-for-26 performance on clears. Sophomore attacker Isabelle Webster added four ground balls, helping Yale to a 26-17 advantage in that category.
The Bulldogs host another MAAC team, Canisius, on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity