April 4, 2009

Late Surge Sends No. 15 Dartmouth Past No. 19 Cornell

from press release

HANOVER, N.H. -- The 15th ranked Dartmouth women's lacrosse team scored six unanswered goals in the final 15 minutes to take a 12-8 victory over Ivy foe Cornell this afternoon.

Dartmouth lent its support to the fight against breast cancer by donning special pink jerseys donated by Under Armour as part of its nationwide Power in Pink initiative. The Big Green raffled off a team-signed jersey to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Dartmouth will also auction off the game-worn jerseys from today with all proceeds going to benefit the Komen Foundation. Check www.DartmouthSports.com/wlacrosse for more details in the coming days.

It was a wild one at Scully-Fahey Field, with rain and wind adding to the intense physicality of the contest in which 39 fouls were whistled and seven yellow cards were issued. Dartmouth (6-3, 3-0 Ivy) struggled to clear the ball in the first half but sharpened up its ball movement in the second, leading to the six unanswered goals -- five of which were assisted. Cornell (5-4, 1-3) had been sharp in the draw circle in the first, but Dartmouth improved to win seven of nine in the second.

Dartmouth once again benefitted from a balanced attack, with five players earning a point in the win.

After trailing 8-6 with 20 minutes to play in the first half, the Big Green cleaned up its passing game and locked down on defense in the final 15 minutes. Senior Katherine Chiusano (Medford, N.J.) was the beneficiary of some crisp feeds from the Dartmouth middies and she scored four-straight goals in less than four minutes to pull the Big Green ahead 10-8 with 10:59 to play. Dartmouth tacked on a pair of insurance goals and held on for the win. Junior goalkeeper Julie Wadland (Andover, Mass.) continued her adept play of late, making eight saves and picking up four ground balls.

Dartmouth took an early lead in the contest when Kat Collins (Darien, Conn.) drove her way in for two goals in the first four minutes, though Cornell's Kat Dewey snuck one in between for a 2-1 Green lead at 26:47. Dewey tied it up for Cornell at 21:58 but Dartmouth's Eliza Bennett (Darien, Conn.) picked up the rebound from a saves shot and took the 3-2 lead right back at 20:20.

The Big Red stormed back with a pair of goals by Jessi Steinberg less than four minutes apart. The second came after a series of failed clears for Dartmouth, allowing Cornell to take a 4-3 lead at 15:29. Defense led to offense on the next trip down the field when Wadland stopped a Cornell eight meter and successfully cleared the ball. Once out of midfield, sophomore Greta Meyer (Denver, Colo.) showed off her skills with a impressive individual effort to tie the game, using a couple of spin moves to thwart a host of Cornell defenders before beating goalie Kristen Reese for the 4-4 tie at 11:33.

Cornell rattled off two more unanswered goals, the first from Libby Johnson and the second when Steinberg found herself all alone in front of the goal. The Big Red took a 6-4 lead with three minutes to play in the half. Dartmouth responded, however, getting two quick goals just over a minute apart to tie the game at the half. Colleen Olsen (Avon, Conn.) won the draw after Steinberg's goal and got it up to Collins who beat the defense solo to make it 6-5. On the next play, Chiusano found Meyer, who fired one past Reese, tying it up at 6-6.

Cornell had held a 21-12 advantage in shots and won eight draw controls to Dartmouth's four in the first half.

The Big Red picked up where it left off in the second with Libby Johnson scoring a pair in the opening 10 minutes to give her team an 8-6 lead at 20:16. Her second goal would prove to be Cornell's last of the day, however.

It took a little time to get going but the Big Green finally got on the board at 14:55. Collins drew a free position on the right side and on her second attempt, pitched it off to Chiusano on the right side and she popped it in, cutting the lead to 8-7. It was almost the exact same play on the next possession this time with Meyer feeding Chiusano and just like that it was 8-8 with 13:57 to play.

It was a whole new game and the floodgates were open for the Big Green. Dartmouth continued to win the draws and Meyer found Chiusano again this time with a long pass for the senior's third-straight goal to put the Big Green ahead, 9-8, at 13:07. Chiusano was wide open on low attack yet again and this time rookie Sarah Parks (Ellicott City, Md.) was the unselfish one, pitching it off to the senior to make it 10-8 Dartmouth at 10:59.

The Big Green's defense, paced by Olsen and Shannie MacKenzie (Greenwich, Conn.) kept making plays to keep Cornell off the board and its effort led to the last two goals for Dartmouth. With under eight minutes to play, Collins brought the ball up through the midfield and sent a sharp one-timer to her Bennet who fired a sidearm rocket past Reese to go up 11-8 at 7:20.

With the defense in lockdown mode, Dartmouth needed no more insurance but was able to retain possession in the closing minutes after Kirsten Goldberg (Cockeysville, Md.) battled for a late ground ball. Collins added her fourth goal of the day for good measure with 2:10 to play and the final 12-8 advantage.

Draw controls proved a difference maker in the second, as Dartmouth won seven to Cornell's two while taking 10 shots and allowing just six by the Big Red, a dramatic shift from the 22 allowed in the first half.

Collins led all scorers with six points on four goals and two assists while Chiusano added five points including four goals, all in the second half. Olsen had a well-rounded day with four caused turnovers, four ground balls and two draw controls.

Winners of four-straight and unbeaten in Ivy play, Dartmouth puts it all on the line next weekend when it heads to #3 Penn for a 12 p.m. showdown on Saturday, April 11.

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