McMullan, Crow Spark Yale to One-Goal Win vs. Brown

NEW HAVEN, Conn. For about 40 minutes of Wednesday afternoon's game vs. Brown at Reese Stadium, sophomore goalkeeper Erin McMullan and the Yale defense had to hold down the fort. The Bears scored five of the game's first seven goals, but they could have had many more were it not for McMullan -- she had nine saves in the first half alone.

And then the Yale attack began clicking, as a goal by senior attacker Caroline Crow, one of five on the day, started a six-goal run midway through the second half that turned the score in the Bulldogs' favor. The Yale defense allowed Brown only one goal in the final 28 minutes of the game to close out the 9-6 comeback win.

"It was a tale of two halves again," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "We had to rely on saves and defensive stops to help us stay in the game early on, and we had 13 turnovers in the first half. It was a struggle, but in the second half we possessed the ball better, shot better, and did what we needed to do to get back in the game."

With Brown winning five of seven draw controls in the first half, and with Yale turning the ball over 13 times, McMullan and the defense were kept busy. After a pair of Brown goals in the first five minutes, the Bulldogs settled down defensively. Yale got on the scoreboard thanks to freshman midfielder Cathryn Avallone picking up a loose ball in the 8-meter arc and firing in her 14th goal of the season at 23:58.

McMullan denied a Brown free position shot shortly after that, and the game became more and more of a defensive struggle. Yale managed only five shots in the half, but after Crow answered a Brown goal with one of her own at the 11:10 mark the Bulldogs found themselves within 3-2.

That would have been the score at halftime, but right after sophomore defender Kallie Parchman forced a Brown attacker to shoot wide with less than five seconds to play, Brown attacker Grace Healy scored at the 2.2-second mark.

The Bulldogs' second-half adjustments did not take immediate effect, as Brown attacker Bre Hudgins scored 1:37 into the second to put Brown up 5-2. But McMullan stopped a free position shot by attacker Kaela McGilloway a minute later, and after that it was all Yale. Crow drove to goal and drew a shooting space call, enabling her to fire in her second goal of the game on a free position at 20:13. Two minutes after that she curled around from behind the cage and shot low to bring Yale within a goal, 5-4.

After that the Bulldogs made a switch in who was taking the draw control, as freshman midfielder Emily Rutland came on as the third player to try to negate Brown attacker Grace Healy (who had a team-high 29 draws entering the game, and got three more Wednesday).

"We tried winning it long, and we tried winning it with self-draws, but that wasn't working," said Phillips. "Emily is the best at bringing it down the line, at least getting it where they weren't expecting it so that it could be a 50/50 ball."

The strategy worked, as Yale would win four of the next five draws. Freshman midfielder Christina Doherty got two, Rutland got one and freshman defender Jayne Flynn got one. That kept the goal-scoring run going.

After being limited to two goals in the first 39:47, the Yale attack began clicking by driving and drawing fouls. Another shooting space call on the Bears enabled junior attacker Devon Rhodes to tie the game with a free position goal at 17:22. Freshman attacker Kerri Fleishhacker then put Yale ahead 6-5 on another free position goal one minute later, finding the lower left corner of the cage.

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