Practice schedule, January - April:
Mon: 8 - 10pm
Tue: 8:30 - 10pm
Wed: 8 - 10pm
Thu: 8:30 -10pm
Fri: 8 - 9pm
Sat: 3 - 5pm
New England League Tournament 1
Yale University, New Haven, CT.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Yale put up a strong showing at the first tournament held in their home pool, going 4-0 for the weekend.
With a long span between the first and second tournaments, the team took a spring training trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Highlights included a series of scrimmages against the Junior National Team, a workshop with former professional player for Barcelona and Junior National Team coach Ricardo Cuevas, and kayaking in a bioluminescent bay!
Unfortunately, a concussion put goalie Courtney Halgren out of the pool two weeks before the second tournament. Field player Sophie Engelstein came off the injury bench to help the team out, with two weeks to train in goal.
New England League Tournament 2
Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
Saturday, April 14, 2012
In their opening game of the tournament, Yale showed great promise, playing a strong press defense and creating lots of man-up opportunities on offense. Offensively, the Bulldogs failed to convert many of these opportunities, with senior Blake Zwerling putting away the only goal in man-up play. Zwerling added another goal from hole set in regular play, and sophomore Cindy Li contributed one more off of a 5-meter shot to make the game 15-3. The Bulldogs looked strong on man-down defense, stifling many of Dartmouth’s man-up opportunities. First time goalie Sophie Engelstein (sophomore) added to the defense’s efforts with several saves.
The Bulldogs came back fighting after their morning loss to Dartmouth, delivering Williams a crushing 18-6 defeat. Yale took the lead early in the first quarter and never looked back. Offensively, Yale capitalized on many of its six-on-five opportunities, overcoming many of the difficulties from their earlier game, and put away several breakaway counter goals, scored by junior captain Margaret Lazzarini, grad student Kim Tsao, and senior Blake Zwerling. With the game out of Williams’ reach by the third quarter, the Bulldogs turned to focus on defense, shutting down Williams’ offensive attacks with an effective press defense. Several beautiful steals by freshman Taylor Nicolas and sophomore Gianna Fote sealed the deal on the Bulldogs’ victory.Yale started off Day 2 with a 12-6 win over Boston College. While goals were initially slow to come, the Bulldogs remained patient and quickly began making their shots, establishing a 4-2 lead in the first quarter that would remain through the rest of the game. Senior Blake Zwerling posted up two high-corner set shots, junior Margaret Lazzarini rocketed a shot in from the perimeter, and sophomore Gianna Fote added several more one-on-nothing goals. BC attempted to even the score with a drive offense, drawing some kick-outs for Yale, but with little success. In even play, Yale’s hard press eliminated many passing and shooting opportunities.
New England Division Championship
Boston University, Boston, MA
Saturday, April 21, 2012
In the week before the championship, the team learned they would also be losing their primary set defender Kim Tsao, due to a concussion incurred at the previous tournament. Undeterred, the first-seed Yale team came out ready to leave everything in the pool and take on Middlebury. Yale got off to a slow start, trading goals with Middlebury and trailing 6-9 in the second quarter. Coach Dom Kwok called a timeout, fired up the troops, and the team made a huge comeback effort, with goals by Taylor Nicolas, Brittany Robinson, Blake Zwerling, Gianna Fote, and Margaret Lazzarini. The team scored 10 more goals, and only allowed one more goal by Middlebury for the rest of the game, to come from behind with the win, 16-10.
Playing for a spot in the championship game, Yale faced off against Williams again. Recognizing Zwerling as an offensive threat, Williams played an effective drop defense and managed to neutralize a number of Yale’s offensive possessions. Yale got lots of good looks at the cage from the perimeter, but the shots just weren’t going in. Not reflected in the score was the improvement in Yale’s defense on drives and in set. The team reduced their number of ejections by half, compared to the six called in their game against Williams the weekend before - all the more impressive given that they only had three practices to tune up their drive defense and rotate into set defense. Regardless of the score, the team never stopped firing on all offensive gears and fought hard as a cohesive unit.
Now battling for third place, Yale matched up against tournament hosts Boston University. Leading scorer Gianna Fote was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict, so the team powered through with one sub. Freshmen Megan Phelan and Taylor Nicolas started for Yale - Phelan’s first game as a starter. At roughly three times the size of Yale’s team, BU had no shortage of fresh players, and they got off to a strong start, leading 5-1 at the end of the first quarter. Yale kept firing shots that barred out, but managed to hold BU to an even two goals each in the second quarter. BU managed to pull further ahead in the third with the score at 5-11. Yale got fired up for their last quarter of water polo for the season, with seniors Mary Hadley and Blake Zwerling starting and finishing their last college game in the pool, and won the quarter 4-1. However, BU’s lead was strong enough to hold them off, and 28 minutes of hard-fought water polo ended with a final score of Yale 9, Boston University 12, giving Yale a fourth-place finish in the league.
All in all, this season’s team showed great strength, both physically and in character. Despite several key players dropping like flies, the women maintained incredible focus and positive attitudes, and consciously decided to give the remainder of the season everything they had. Pulling through these challenges together made for a very memorable and rewarding season, and the team would like to thank everyone who supported them along the way!