March 14, 2012

Giovanniello, Dartmouth Hold Off Vermont

from press release

HANOVER, N.H. - On an afternoon that started out sunny and warm and ended cloudy with a chill in the air, it seems fitting that the No. 10 Dartmouth women's lacrosse team started out hot, but needed the stellar play of its sophomore goalkeeper to hold off a late-charging Vermont team Wednesday, 13-9.

Kristen Giovanniello (Old Brookville, N.Y.) was faced with the unenviable task of facing a potent Catamounts' offense that had scored 16 or more goals in its first four games of 2012. She responded to the challenge by making a career-high 17 saves and helping the Big Green improve to 4-0 on the season.

The sophomore had stopped 15 shots last season in Burlington for her previous career high, a figure she bested on this day at Scully-Fahey that set up for a battle between two top-10 teams Saturday when No. 3 Duke makes its way to Hanover for the first time since 2008.

"Obviously that one of the best games I've ever seen her play," head coachAmy Patton said. "She made 17 saves that were critical considering they (Vermont) outshot us by a wide margin (39-26). Then you look at all her ground balls, I mean those are incredibly important possessions for us.

"I thought she was stellar for us today," Patton added.

Senior Kirsten Goldberg (Cockeysville, Md.) took care of business at the other end of the field, scoring six times and finishing with eight points on the afternoon, both new career highs.

"Kirsten did a really good job of getting to the net today," Patton said. "She really hung in there even when they were playing her hard and putting a lot of pressure on her defensively."

Dartmouth jumped out to an early 8-0 lead just 13 minutes into the opening half. Four first-half goals from Goldberg helped spark the Big Green's early offensive onslaught that, for the second game in a row, scored 10 times by half.

However, Vermont came into the game boasting a potent offense, something Dartmouth saw first-hand as the Catamounts clawed their way back into the game with five-unanswered goals to make it an 8-5 contest.

Two more goals inside the final three minutes of the first half, though, helped create a little more breathing room for the home team, including the eventual game winner from Goldberg with 18 seconds remaining in the first period of play.

Sarah Plumb (Wellesley, Mass.), Dartmouth's dominating senior midfielder, was held under five points for the first time this season as she scored once and assisted on another in the game. But, strong play in other areas saw Plumb contribute to her team's success on this day.

Her team-high four draw controls moved her into fourth all-time at Dartmouth with 96 in her career. She and junior Courtney Bennett(Darien, Conn.) also played well on the defensive side of the ball as each forced Vermont into two turnovers apiece.

Bennett and sophomore Liz Calby (Darien, Conn.) each added two goals with Calby also assisting on another for three points.

The story of the day, however, belonged to Giovanniello. Her nine saves in the first half alone would have been good for a new season high, but she continued to be on top of her game in the second when the Catamounts were desperately seeking to tie the game, adding another eight saves to the scoresheet to finish with 17 on the day.

Vermont's 39-26 advantage in shots was the result of that second-half surge which saw the Catamounts outshoot the Big Green, 22-7, in the final 30 minutes. But, for every push UVM had, Dartmouth's defensive unit, anchored by its sophomore goalkeeper, answered with key stops to earn the four-goal victory.

The win not only pushed the team's record to 4-0 for the first time since the 2005 season, but also increased its consecutive victories over Vermont to 11 games, a streak that dates back to 1994.

Now, the Big Green must turn their attention to Saturday and the No. 3 Blue Devils. The meeting between the two top-10 teams in Hanover is the first since No. 7 Dartmouth battled No. 6 Penn last April.

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