HANOVER, N.H. - Big risk, big reward. It's risky to schedule your Senior Day against a team that has had your number over the last few seasons. However, when you win that game, the reward is immeasurable.
For seven members of the No. 9 Dartmouth women's lacrosse team, that reward was Saturday afternoon's 9-7 win over No. 7 Penn at Scully-Fahey Field on their Senior Day.
Prior to the two-goal triumph, the Big Green (9-2, 5-0 Ivy) had not defeated the Quakers (6-5, 4-1 Ivy) since the 2006 season, a stretch of six games, including a loss in the conference tournament in that time.
Both teams were 4-0 in Ivy play entering the afternoon tilt. Now, Dartmouth sits alone atop the Ivy League standings for the first time this season at 5-0 with just two conference games remaining.
''We just had a look today that there was going to be no stopping us and that's different from the look we've had against Penn sometimes in the past,'' head coach Amy Patton said. ''There were times where we gave up a bunch of goals and could have folded, but the kids had a will today that they were going to win this game.''
Plumb continued her dominating play in the midfield this season as she collected five draw controls and set a new Dartmouth single-season record as she now has 58 in 11 games this season. For her career, the senior has 132 draws, three back of the program mark and eight off the Ivy League record.
Junior Courtney Bennett (Dairen, Conn.) scored 30 seconds into the game to set the pace and was matched four minutes later when sophomore Lindsey Allard (Cohasset, Mass.) scored the first of her two goals in the game.
Penn roared back with four unanswered tallies over in a five-five span midway through the period, only to see the home team respond with three straight to end the stanza.
Dartmouth led 5-4 at the half, but the Quakers fought back to take a 7-5 lead just over five minutes into the second. Those three early second-half tallies would be the last goals of the afternoon for Penn as the Big Green defense clamped down in the final 24:45, holding its opponents off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
On the other side of things, Dartmouth ended the afternoon with the final four goals to earn the win. Plumb's 27th of the season broke the 7-7 tie with 8:21 remaining and proved to be the game winner. Liz Calby's goal with 1:51 left gave the team some breathing room with an insurance marker, 9-7.
Junior Kelsey Johnson (Norfolk, Mass.) had a game-high two caused turnovers and adding two ground balls. Senior Kristen Goldberg (Cockeysville, Md.) had two points on a goal and an assist.
|Senior Sarah Plumb celebrates her game-winner.|
Sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello (Old Brookville, N.Y.) made four stops in the win, while Penn's Emily Leitner recorded five saves on the afternoon, picking up the loss.
An evenly-matched game throughout, the Big Green held an advantage in shots, 24-18, and ground balls, 19-12.
Plumb, Goldberg, Hilary Smith (Bronxville, N.Y.), Dana Brisbane (Locust Valley, N.Y.), Sarah Parks (Ellicott City, Md.), Georgia Bird (Summit, N.J.) and Erin Massimi (Westwood, Mass.) were honored after the game as part of the aforementioned Senior Day celebrations. The day was even more special for this class as Parks returned from an injury that had her sidelined all season to play in her first game of 2012.
Dartmouth is back at Scully-Fahey Field Monday afternoon for a non-conference tilt with Niagara in the regular season home finale. Set for a 1:30 p.m. start.