Bulldogs Finish Strong to Edge the Bears

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Senior defender Adrienne Tarver, Yale's captain, grabbed one final loose ball in the waning seconds of Yale's game vs. Brown Friday night at Reese Stadium, and moments later leapt in the air in celebration as the final horn sounded and the Bulldogs held on for a 9-8 win. It was a fitting way for the season finale to end, as Tarver and the rest of the nine-member senior class depart with a victory that clinched three straight seasons with a better won-lost record than the previous season.

“This was a great team effort,” said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. “All the seniors got in the game, and they deserved to be in the game. They moved the program forward during their four years here, and it was fitting that they got the chance to contribute to one final win.”

The seniors thus saw the program progress to the point where their win total as seniors (nine) was triple their win total as freshman (three). Yale (9-6, 3-4 Ivy League) finishes the season with its most wins since 2008, and most Ivy League wins since 2010.

Brown (9-6, 2-5 Ivy League) kept things close all game long, however, in front of a large and boisterous crowd of several hundred at Reese.

The first 16 minutes of the game were particularly hectic, as the teams combined for five goals while committing eight turnovers. The Bulldogs found themselves trailing 3-2 at that point, with goals from junior midfielder Cathryn Avallone (assisted by senior attacker Jen DeVito) and sophomore attacker Nicole Daniggelis.

But the Yale defense then settled in against a Brown team that entered the game first in the league in shooting percentage (.507) and second in goals (171). Senior goalkeeper Erin McMullan made one of her best saves of the night to deny midfielder Kerianne Hunt from point-blank range off a feed from defender Bre Hudgins with less than seven minutes remaining in the first. DeVito then delivered a goal with 1:39 to play, bouncing a low line drive past Brown goalkeeper Kellie Roddy, but Bears attacker Danielle Mastro scored with 19.2 seconds left to send her team into halftime up 4-3.

An early turning point in the second half came five minutes in when freshman attacker Tess McEvoy was shaken up after being fouled by Bears defender Erin Roos, who received a yellow card on the play. McEvoy was forced to the sideline, and Phillips inserted sophomore midfielder Lauren Wackerle to take the crucial free-position shot. Wackerle fired in her second goal of the season, tying the game 4-4 with 24:41 to play.

A turnover in the Yale zone gave Hudgins a chance to race in uncontested on McMullan for a goal with 23:01 to play that put Brown back ahead. But over the course of the next 20 minutes -- jump-started early on by another big save from McMullan on Hunt -- the Bears would score just once, and the Bulldogs were able to take the lead. After Daniggelis faked a pass behind the cage and then cut in front for a goal to tie the score 5-5, Brown momentarily went back ahead on a goal by defender Rachael Walsh with 19:12 to play.

A free-position goal by Daniggelis then started a three-goal run by Yale that enabled the Bulldogs to seize some control of the game. Two minutes after scoring, Daniggelis caused a turnover and Doherty came away with the ball, earning a free position attempt that she converted to give Yale a 7-6 lead -- its first lead in more than 33 minutes.

McMullan preserved that lead by going low to deny a shot by attacker Grace Healy with 12 minutes left. Doherty then extended the lead when she grabbed a loose ball in the 8-meter arc and deposited it past Roddy with 9:03 to play.

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