Bulldogs’ defense frustrates women’s lacrosse’s offense

Bears lose second Ivy League game by five-goal margin, fall in conference standings

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 16, 2015

Mollie Lane ’17 forced a Bulldog turnover and skillfully managed to scoop up two ground balls in Saturday’s contest despite the slippery turf.

In a rainy matchup Saturday, the women’s lacrosse team fell 8-3 to Yale, marking its second Ivy loss. The Bulldogs’ defense proved largely impenetrable for Bruno, holding the team to a season-low three goals. Wet conditions may have slowed down net offensive output, with only 11 total goals scored, though the Bears did not let the weather faze them.

“The weather was definitely intense, but our team focuses on the controllables — weather not being something we can control,” said Kerianne Hunt ’17. “It gave us more motivation to prove we can battle in any given conditions. … We’re used to playing in the snow.”

Bruno kicked off play on a high note, as Rebecca Dahle ’16 put the Bears on the board with the first goal of the game on a free position. But that was the only lead the Bears would hold. Yale countered with four unanswered goals to set the pace for the rest of the game. While possession was matched between the squads for the most part, Bruno could not capitalize on its chances. The Bulldog defense stymied the Bears’ offensive efforts, forcing them to resort to long chains of unfruitful passing plays.

“Not finishing our shots was one of the main challenges,” said Alyssa DiBona ’15. “Yale capitalized on the opportunity to finish. … That definitely changes the momentum.”

Marissa Hudgins ’18 notched Bruno’s second goal of the game with 10 minutes left in the first half. The rookie took advantage of a free position shot to power the ball into the back of the net. The Bears scored solely off of free position shots, going three for 10. The Elis scored once more to enter halftime with a 5-2 lead.

The Bears adjusted their play over the course of the contest, reacting to the Bulldogs’ speed and solid defense.

“Defensively, we had a couple of girls on the faster Yale girls. On offense, we ran some plays and switched up some people,” DiBona said.

A three-goal deficit seemed surmountable at first, but the Bulldogs dominated the low-scoring second half, burying Bruno’s hopes for its first Ivy victory with every additional point scored. Three consecutive goals widened Yale’s lead to 8-2 with 10 minutes left in play. Hope Hanley notched a hat trick for the Bulldogs — scoring as many goals as the Brown offense.

“We had a couple of tough shots,” DiBona said. “Some of our shots just weren’t going like they normally do.”

Richael Walsh ’16 cut Bruno’s deficit to five with a last-minute goal. But Yale still left with a decisive victory in what could have been a close contest. The loss came a week after the Bears played reigning Ivy champions Penn to a tight two-goal loss, proving their ability to remain competitive in a tough conference.

The two teams seemed evenly matched in terms of solely statistics. But a lack of momentum played a major role in Bruno’s defeat.

“It was a very even game — it almost felt more like we were winning a lot of plays,” DiBona said. “But our shots weren’t falling.”

The Bears actually outshot the Bulldogs and collected more ground balls. But the Elis overpowered the Bears in draw controls, preventing them from dominating possession.

“Our team put up a very strong fight on both ends of the field,” Hunt said. “But the way we valued the ball and our decision-making after we gained possession wasn’t what our team is capable of.”

Kellie Roddy ’15 blocked eight shots in net for Bruno — 50 percent of total shots Saturday. Walsh, Lauren Toy ’16 and Lindsey Repp ’18 led Bruno in shots taken with three apiece, though only Walsh was able to get past Yale goalie Erin Mullins.

Teams committed a total 64 fouls, which made for many starts and stops. Brown collected three yellow cards, while the Bulldogs recorded two.

“I don’t think it was anything big that we did wrong on Saturday,” DiBona said. “We just have to fine-tune the little mistakes.”

With the loss, the Bears drop to a three-way tie for sixth place in the conference and remain winless in the Ivy League. Next week, they will play Cornell, which sits in a tie for first in the conference after defeating both Yale and Columbia by decisive margins.