Coming into Wednesday, the University of Connecticut women’s lacrosse squad had never beat Yale in program history. With the help of their best team in program history, the Huskies broke through and pulled off a convincing victory for their first ranked win of the year.
To start the contest, the Huskies were red hot. Just 21 seconds after the opening draw, Grace Coon drove straight down the middle and scored her 31st goal of the season, despite being double-teamed. A minute later, the Bulldogs answered with an Olivia Markert free-position goal. Just after, Lia LaPrise found herself wide open behind the net and snuck the ball past Cami Donadio to retake the lead. Coon and Sydney Watson each tacked on another goal to make it a 4-1 Husky lead. In just the sixth minute of action, Coon picked up her third and fourth goal of the game and Stephanie Palmucci got one to make it 7-1 early.
All of a sudden though, Yale stormed back. Caroline Burt got one past Landyn White, but LaPrise answered back with a score of her own. Burt and Markert each got a score to go into the quarter break with the Huskies up 8-4.
With a man down, the Huskies surrendered another goal to Taylor Everson and later to Fallon Vaugn, and just like that it was 8-6. In typical superstar fashion though, Watson did her thing with a mixture of speed bursts and accelerations, drill in a pair of goals over the span of 40 seconds. However, the last five minutes of the half, the Huskies couldn’t keep their focus, allowing two goals to Markert and one to Olivia Penoyer to make it 10-9 at the half.
Early in the third frame, Watson and Susan LaFountain each found the back of the net, giving the Husky lead a bit more cushion. Penoyer and Sophie Straka went to work for Yale almost immediately removing the cushion, making it 12-11. Less than a minute later, LaPrise made a diving shot just outside of the net, but Yale’s Taylor Lane negated it with one of her own. Off a nice Watson lead pass, Coon got her fifth score of the day right after Palmucci fought through the tough coverage for a goal into the top corner. Then Lafountain netted another, and all of a sudden, the Huskies had a four goal lead going into the final quarter.
Burt and Lane each scored to start the final quarter, getting the Bulldogs within two goals. Ultimately though, this allowed the Huskies to fully lock in, not allowing another for the final 10 minutes of the contest. LaPrise and Coon each netted two more to finish out the contest with UConn winning 20-14. On a more sour note, on her final goal, LaPrise appeared to get injured, so that will be something to monitor in the coming days.
HUSKY TRIO WOWS
One of the most special things about this UConn team is the fact that it can get goals from so many different places. Against Yale, three different Huskies recorded seven points, which represents an impressive team effort. Coon put on a scoring clinic, netting seven goals, while LaPrise and Watson tapped into their passing sides too. LaPrise scored five times and got a pair of assists, despite getting injured in the final minutes. Watson was the most even, netting four and assisting on three shots. If the Huskies want to make a run for the Big East tournament title, this trio is going to need to be effective as they were Wednesday.