Women's Lacrosse: Hosts drop No. 8 Dartmouth, keep postseason hopes alive
The women’s lacrosse team pulled off a crucial 12-9 upset of Ivy League rival Dartmouth at 1952 Stadium on Saturday afternoon. By beating the No. 8 Big Green, which was previously undefeated in conference play, No. 20 Princeton (7-6 overall, 4-2 Ivy League) kept its playoff hopes alive and remained in a three-way tie for third place in the conference.
Dartmouth (10-3, 5-1) jumped out to a quick lead, scoring three goals in the game’s first six minutes. However, the Tigers tied the game at three apiece after senior midfielder Cassie Pyle found the net twice within 40 seconds to score her first two goals of the game. Princeton added another four goals in the first half to take a 7-5 lead into the intermission.
Courtney Bennett drew first blood in the second half to bring the Big Green within one, but junior midfielder Charlotte Davis, freshman midfielder Erin Slifer and freshman attacker Erin McMunn scored the contest’s next three goals for the Tigers to build a comfortable lead with 16 minutes left to play. Dartmouth would fight back to narrow the deficit to only a pair of goals with two minutes remaining, but Princeton controlled the ball in the final minutes, capped by an open-net goal from Pyle.
"We knew our backs were and continue to be against the wall, and it’s clear that we want to get to the postseason," head coach Chris Sailer said. "All season long, in competitive games, we haven’t really put together goalkeeping, offense and defense. Today, we did that. Every single kid stepped up, and that’s what we needed to beat a very talented Dartmouth team."
Princeton was outshot in the game by a narrow margin of 25-23, including a three-shot disadvantage in the second half. Overall, the Tigers and the Big Green played fairly evenly throughout. Draw controls were even at 11, and the teams were separated by only one foul, ground-ball pickup and turnover.
Freshman goalie Annie Woehling allowed just nine goals and picked up nine saves, many at close range. Her Dartmouth counterpart, Kristen Giovanniello, surrendered 12 goals while grabbing eight saves of her own before being yellow-carded in the game’s final minute for throwing her stick in an attempt to deflect Pyle’s final goal.
"Annie was fantastic in goal. When they got those three early goals, she didn’t get rattled, she settled in and got better as the game went along," Sailer said. "She had some critical saves in that second half, some point-blank saves, and when your keeper’s making saves like that, it just gives your team so much momentum and so much confidence."
Kirsten Goldberg led the Big Green with four goals, while Pyle also posted a four-goal performance to bring her team-leading season total to 36. McMunn added two assists to her hat trick on the way to a five-point game for the Tigers. The pair of assists brings McMunn to 27 on the year, good for second in the Ivy League to Columbia’s Kacie Johnson. Slifer and Davis also netted two goals and an assist each for Princeton.
While the Tigers’ victory elevates their league record to 4-2, Princeton sits on the wrong end of tiebreakers with both Cornell and Harvard after losing regular-season contests to each team. In order for the Tigers to remain in the playoff picture, Princeton must defeat Penn this Wednesday at home. A loss by either Cornell or Harvard in their season finale would assure Princeton of the fourth seed; if both teams won, the Ivy League would have a five-way tie for first place at 5-2.
Penn is currently tied for first in the conference with a 5-1 record, as the Quakers’ only loss came at the hands of the Big Green last week. They will visit 1952 Stadium at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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