Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

No. 23 women’s lacrosse falls in close, rainy matchup against No. 21 Yale

Woman in Princeton uniform carries lacrosse ball and looks up the field.
Princeton attacker McKenzie Blake led the Tigers with three goals in a tough loss against Yale.
Photo courtesy of @PrincetonWLAX/X.

Following two consecutive wins against No. 25 Penn State (2–4 overall, 0–0 Big Ten Conference) and No. 22 Rutgers (4–1, 0–0 Big Ten), the No. 23 Princeton women’s lacrosse team (2–2, 0–1 Ivy League) returned to Sherrerd Field to take on their Ivy League foe, No. 21 Yale (4–0, 1–0). The Tigers were outlasted by the Bulldogs 11–9 in a matchup that saw score changes throughout the rainy game.

The first quarter provided offensive fireworks for both teams. The Bulldogs won the opening draw, immediately marching down the field into Princeton’s defensive third. Following a foul by Princeton, Yale midfielder Katie Clare opened up the scoring off a free-position shot less than a minute into the game. Princeton junior attacker McKenzie Blake won the ensuing draw control, but sophomore attacker Jami MacDonald’s shot attempt was saved by Yale goalkeeper Laura O’Connor.


The Tigers found the back of the net four minutes later through the stick of sophomore attacker Haven Dora, who scored off a scoop shot after running forward from behind the net. Dora’s goal, her fifth of the season, was followed by MacDonald’s eighth of the season off a free-position shot just 32 seconds later, giving Princeton a 2–1 advantage in the game.

The rest of the first quarter featured back and forth scoring by the two teams, as neither team was able to decisively pull away from the other. Yale attacker Jenna Collignon scored the next two goals of the game to put the Bulldogs ahead by one point. However, the Tigers countered with a goal by senior attacker Ellie Mueller, who found herself standing in front of an open goal after MacDonald drew the defenders’ attention toward herself before passing the ball to Mueller.

Mueller scored her second goal of the game off a free-position shot three minutes later, but not before Yale’s Collignon fired her third of five eventual goals into the back of the net.

Following the intense first quarter, Princeton stiffened up their defense to create more offensive possessions. Just ninety seconds into the second quarter, senior midfielder Kari Buonanno forced a turnover on Collignon, allowing junior defender Samantha Whiting to scoop up the ground ball and race across the field to the offensive third, giving McKenzie Blake a path to score her first goal of the game — and tenth of the season — off an assist by Mueller. Another goal ninety seconds later by Buonanno gave Princeton a 6–4 lead, the largest lead up to that point in the game. Yale erased this lead quickly, however, with two consecutive goals by Collignon.

With 4:52 left in the half, a foul by Yale’s Bella Saviano set up a free-position attempt for senior attacker Grace Tauckus. Upon the whistle, Tauckus raced forward from her position and fired a shot into the back of the net, giving the Tigers a 7–6 lead. The goal was Tauckus’s 100th career goal, who is also Princeton’s active leading scorer with 123 points.


“It’s a tribute to my teammates around me,” Tauckus told The Daily Princetonian. “We work together, set each other up. So, a lot of thanks to them [and I] couldn’t have done it without them.”

Right before halftime, Yale tied up the score once again with a goal by midfielder Karina Herrera.

Coming out of the locker rooms for the second half, Yale immediately placed the Tigers into a deep hole, scoring three unanswered goals in the first three minutes and forcing multiple turnovers. The three-score deficit ultimately proved fatal for Princeton, who did not score a goal in the third quarter.

Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now »

“I think we just came in a little flat in the third quarter; we’re fighting on the draw circle, but sometimes those [50–50] balls don’t go your way,” stated Tauckus. 

Throughout the game, the Bulldogs dominated the draw control battle, winning 16 compared to only eight for the Tigers. According to Tauckus, winning draw controls has been a priority for the Tigers in practices and preparation, and they continue to be a work in progress. 

“We’ve started this season doing pretty well on the draw. I think everyone’s proud of how much work we’ve put into that in the offseason” Tauckus said. “Yale’s a great team on the draw. It’s just about making adjustments and figuring out different bodies and how we can move forward in times where we’re losing that.”

The Tigers’ continual emphasis is certainly showing positive signs this season. In the four games they’ve played so far in 2024, the Tigers have won 59 out of 113 draw control battles, yielding a 52.2 percent success rate. This figure is much higher than that of the 2023 season, where Princeton only won 43.2 percent of these 50–50 balls.

Princeton’s defense remained stout for the rest of the game, placing immense pressure on Yale’s attackers and midfielders to create turnovers. Sophomore goalkeeper Amelia Hughes came up with two crucial saves in the last twelve minutes, boosting her game total to seven. However, Princeton’s offense remained stagnant until there were only five minutes left in the game, when McKenzie Blake scored off an assist by Dora.

Blake followed up with another goal with 1:08 left on the clock. However, hopes of a late comeback were diminished after an ensuing shot attempt by senior midfielder Samantha DeVito was saved by O’Connor, ending the game in a tight, 11–9 score. 

The loss brings Princeton’s all-time record against Yale to 33–17–1, although they have lost three of their last five to their Ivy League opponent. The Tigers may have the chance to avenge their loss later on this season, should the two teams meet in the Ivy League Tournament. The team, however, isn’t thinking that far into the season just yet.

“I think just focusing on the controllables,” said. “We know that we have everything we need on this team with all of our players, and really just focusing on the things that we can bring to the table to play our game [is important].”

The Tigers look to get back in the win column in a tilt against Monmouth (3–2, 0–0 Coastal Athletic Association) on Wednesday at home.

Peter Wang is a staff Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’ 

Please send corrections to corrections[at]