CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Prior to Friday night’s Ivy League matchup at Harvard Stadium, the Crimson women’s lacrosse program honored three members of its senior class. However, the story of the game that followed revolved heavily around the play of Dartmouth’s seniors appearing in their final collegiate contest.
Senior goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello put together one of the best games in her decorated four-year career, stopping 16 shots to lead the way from the back. Liz Calby was the Big Green’s catalyst on offense, scoring four times and picking up five points, while classmate Lindsey Allard’s tally with 1:16 left in regulation proved to be the game-winner and capped an exciting second-half comeback that gave Dartmouth a 9-8 victory.
The story of the game truly was the play of Giovanniello, though. Her 16 saves were one shy of her career best and were a huge reason the Green and White were able to keep things close and pick up the win to finish the season 6-8 overall and 3-4 in Ivy play.
Harvard (9-6, 4-3 Ivy) didn’t appear to be a team content with already having locked up a spot in the upcoming conference postseason tournament. Rather, they pushed play all night, scoring eight goals on 32 shots.
But they were unable to completely solve the Big Green’s goalkeeper and were denied numerous times when a goal at a key moment could have swayed momentum the other way. Giovanniello turned aside 13 in the first half alone as the Crimson attempted 22 shots in the opening stanza.
“I think being able to start all the seniors was great motivation,” head coach Amy Patton said. “This game was all about getting it done for them. As a team, we came out amped up and ready to play, but credit to Harvard for matching that intensity and answering in the first half.”
After falling behind by a pair early, the team from the Upper Valley rattled off five straight goals to take its first lead of the game. That run was answered by four consecutive tallies from the home team to take a 6-5 edge into intermission.
The Crimson held leads of 7-5 and 8-6 in the second half, but goals from Calby, Jaclyn Leto and finally Allard in the last 10 minutes helped Dartmouth overcome the deficits and earn the Ivy League win.
“Both teams went on runs and then responded to those runs. It came down to the end and who was going to be the tougher team,” Patton said. “I thought we showed great discipline defensively in the final minutes that allowed our transition game to go the other way to score the winner.
“We fought so hard all year and we had not seen the tides turn in our favor in a while so I am happy with the result,” Patton continued. “We talked about what we needed to do to ‘win the week’ and I think we were successful in accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves to do just that.”
Leto finished the game with a pair of goals, while Ingrid Hermanson and Samantha Schiff came off the bench to each add one. Danielle Lisovicz dished out two assists as a reserve and Sarah Byrne chipped in with another.
Marisa Romeo — the top goal scorer in the Ancient Eight this season — was held to just two markers by Dartmouth’s defenders with one coming at the 8-mete arc. Chelsey Newman and Megan Hennessey also added two apiece in the losing effort, while goalkeeper Kelly Weis made seven saves and allowed nine goals in the circle.
Upon quickly glancing at the stat sheet, Harvard’s 32-19 advantage in shots and its edge in draw controls (11-8), turnovers (12-14) and fouls (17-21) might appear to have the upper hand. However, that would greatly undersell the play of the Big Green’s top players at crucial moments that allowed them to snap a four-game skid and end the 2014 campaign on a high note.
Calby’s four goals give her 95 for a career, good for 21st overall in program history, while she will also finish her career with 137 points, the 15th-best figure by a Dartmouth player in its four-decade history. Giovanniello’s 529 career saves are third all-time at Dartmouth as well.