CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Character is oftentimes seen more in the wake of hardships than in times of success. For the No. 10 Dartmouth women's lacrosse team, the hope is that character will be built from two late season hiccups as it heads into the postseason.
The Big Green fell to Harvard Friday night in the 2012 regular season finale at Harvard Stadium, 7-5. The loss knocked Dartmouth (10-4)out of contention for the Ivy League title as it finishes the season 5-2 in league play.
The first half was a defensive stalwart as the first 30 minutes of play yielded just three goals between the two teams. Dartmouth took the 2-1 lead into the locker room on goals from Sarah Parks (Ellicott City, Md.) and Liz Calby (Darien, Conn.).
Parks opened the scoring with the game's first goal 16:59 into the first half.
In contrast, the second half started out with an explosion of offense as each team scored a pair in the first five minutes. Harvard's 3-0 run over the course of six minutes midway through the final frame gave it a two-goal lead, 6-4.
Senior Sarah Plumb (Wellesley, Mass.) scored her 33rd goal of the season to pull her team to within one, 6-5, with 5:59 remaining. Plumb and her teammates had two chances to tie the game late on separate possessions, but the top-ranked Crimson defense quelled each chance before a shot could reach the goal.
As it had done for most of the game, Harvard (9-6, 5-2 Ivy) tried to run the clock down and hold its possession as long as it could in the final minute, but a strong defensive effort by the Big Green forced a turnover in front of goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello (Old Brookville, N.Y.).
That momentum was short-lived as Dartmouth was halted at midfield and Harvard went the other way for the insurance goal with just eight seconds left.
Calby and Plumb each finished the night with two goals apiece for the visitors. Three Crimson players also posted two goals in the game.
Giovanniello finished with six saves, while Kelly Weis stopped nine Dartmouth shots in earning the win in the Crimson net.
It was an evenly matched game as Harvard held a slight advantage in shots, 21-19, while the Big Green forced 14 turnovers and committed just nine in the game.
By virtue of the Dartmouth loss Friday, Penn claimed the Ivy League Championship and will host the conference's postseason tournament for the third year in a row next weekend at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Harvard, Cornell and the Big Green will be the other three teams in the tourney with final seedings to be determined after the Big Red's game with Brown Saturday afternoon.
The semifinal match-ups will take play on Friday afternoon with the title game set for Sunday.