PRINCETON, N.J. - Few things in life are perfect. For the No. 8 Dartmouth women's lacrosse team, it is going to have to rely on the ideal that sometimes you can learn more from a loss than remaining unblemished if it is to win another Ivy League title this spring.
The Big Green fell to No 20 Princeton, 12-9, Saturday afternoon at Sherred Field. The loss was the first of the season against an Ivy opponent for the team that was the last unbeaten club remaining in the conference.
"We have to use this loss in our favor," head coach Amy Patton said. "We can't dwell on it or be too frustrated by it. Instead, we have to look inward and make sure that our preparation is better headed to Harvard to show that we want to host the league tournament."
Dartmouth (10-3, 5-1 Ivy) was led offensively on this day by senior Kirsten Goldberg (Cockeysville, Md.) and her four goals and six points. Sophomore Lindsey Allard (Cohasset, Mass.) was the only other player on the visitors to have multiple points in the loss as she scored twice.
Senior Sarah Plumb (Wellesley, Mass.) broke the Ivy League record for career draw controls as she had five in the game to bring her nearly four-year total to 141, eclipsing the previous record of 140 set by Cornell's Jamiee Reynolds in 2002.
The Big Green had early leads of 3-1 and 4-3, but the Tigers (7-6, 4-2 Ivy) battled back each time to hold a 7-5 advantage at halftime. Dartmouth tried to mount a comeback of its own with the first marker of the second half to pull to within one. However, the home team was just too much, building a 10-6 lead before holding on for the 12-9 victory.
"At the end of the game, we had several great chances, but just couldn't finish them off," Patton added. "We just made too many uncharacteristic turnovers at inopportune times.
"The team came out playing hard and did some good things, but this game was decided by Princeton taking advantage of its chances when we did not. They deserved to win today and the result showed that," Patton added.
Cassie Pyle scored four goals for the Tigers, while Erin McMunn came off the bench to add three.
Plumb finished the game with a goal, three ground balls and the five draws. Fellow senior Hilary Smith (Bronxville, N.Y.) posted two ground balls, a draw control and a game-high four caused turnovers, matching her career high in the process.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello (Old Brookville, N.Y.) made eight saves, while her counterpart in Princeton's Annie Woehling had nine.
Shots in the game were 25-23 in favor of the Big Green, with Dartmouth also holding a 13-12 edge in ground balls. Both teams had 11 draw controls in the game.
Dartmouth will now look to its final game of the regular season on Friday night when it travels to Cambridge to take on Harvard at 7:30 p.m. with Ivy League Tournament seeding implications on the line.