2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT
Game 17 - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 4 p.m.
No. 9/9 Dartmouth Big Green (12-4, 5-2 Ivy) vs.
No. 4/4 Syracuse Orange (8-6, 4-2 Ivy)
Location: Syracuse, N.Y. - Carrier Dome
All-Time Series: Dartmouth, 8-6
First Meeting: May 6, 2000 - L, 18-9 (Away)
Last Meeting: April 9, 2012 - L, 22-4 (Away)
Streak: Syracuse, 1-0
Last Dartmouth Win: April 4, 2011 - W, 10-7 (Home)
HANOVER, N.H. - Frank Sinatra, Luther Vandross and Tony Bennett all sang about it. Mary Higgins Clark wrote a book about it. Andy Griffin even stared in a movie with the phrase as the title.
But the Dartmouth women's lacrosse team must live it Sunday when it goes back to Syracuse for the 'second time around'. This time, though, it will not be a regular season game, but rather the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The first time did not go as the team expected as the Orange handed the Big Green their most lopsided defeat of the season, 22-4.
Now, Dartmouth returns to the Carrier Dome with a wealth of confidence, the understanding that they can play with any opponent on any given day and the Ivy League Tournament championship trophy to illustrate that point.
LAST TIME OUT
Dartmouth shook off the rust from two losses to end the regular season with two victories in three days in Philadelphia to claim to first Ivy League Tournament Championship. Wins over third-seeded Cornell, 9-8, and the top-seeded hosts from Penn, 6-4, earned the Big Green the tournament title and the automatic berth into the field of 16.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Entering the NCAA Tournament with a 12-4 record is impressive enough, given the difficulty of it regular season schedule, but Dartmouth had to overcome obstacles late in the season to reach this point. Road losses at No. 20 Princeton and Harvard on consecutive weekends cost the Big Green a chance at the Ivy League's regular season title and the right to host the tournament as they finished second in the league standings at 5-2. That just fueled the team as they went into the Ivy Tournament and knocked off an offensively-talented Big Red team and then an NCAA-caliber team in Penn for the title.
All-time against the Orange, Dartmouth leads 8-6 in 14 meetings dating back to the 2000 season. A 22-4 win by then-No. 2 Syracuse on April 9 snapped the Big Green's two-game win streak over the Orange that included a 17-10 road triumph in the Carrier Dome in 2010 and a 10-7 victory in Hanover last season by the Green and White. Syracuse holds a 5-2 advantage in the series when the game is played under its own roof.
THE SECOND TIME FOR THE SECOND
Once before in this series have these two teams played a regular season match-up and an NCAA Tournament game in the same season. In 2005, on the way to its first of two-straight Final Four appearances, the Big Green played the Orange two times. Like this season, both match-ups that year were played in the same location as 2005 saw Syracuse return to Hanover for the first round of the national tournament a month to the day after dropping the regular season tilt, 13-8, to Dartmouth. The Big Green narrowly edged the Orange in that first-round meeting as well, 9-8.
SCOUTING THE ORANGE
A familiar foe, a lot has changed since these two teams last met in early April. Syracuse managed to rattle off a program-record 15 straight wins before seeing that string of victories snapped in the BIG EAST championship game at home to No. 12 Loyola (Md.), 13-7. The Orange have one of the nation's top players in junior Michelle Tumolo, who was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, leading the team in assists (40), while ranking second in points (83). Joining Tumolo is another potent offensive player in Alyssa Murray who led the team with 93 points on 63 goals. In the circle, the Big Green will be tasked with facing Alyssa Constantino, a goalkeeper who has an 8.00 goals-against average and a .526 save percentage to lead the nation en route to a 14-2 record.
SECOND TIME FOR A THIRD TEAM
Sunday's meeting with the Orange will mark the third occurrence this season that Dartmouth will face an opponent for a second time in 2012. Ivy League Tournament match-ups with Cornell and Penn marked the other two instances. Sunday's game will have one major difference, though: the Big Green defeated the previous two opponents in the regular-season meetings before taking them on again in the playoffs.
OUTSTANDING PLAYER EARNS AWARD
Sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello (Old Brookville, N.Y.) has been the backbone of the Dartmouth defense for the better part of two seasons. Nowhere was that more evident than on the field in Philadelphia last weekend as she came up with key save after key save en route to earning Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors in helping to guide her team to the league title. She stopped eight shots in both games and finished the weekend with a .571 save percentage.
MORE DRAW RECORDS
Senior Sarah Plumb (Wellesley, Mass.) already owned the league's career and single-season records for draw controls entering the weekend, but added another record to her draw prowess. Against Cornell in the semifinals, Plumb had six draws, setting a new Ivy League tournament single-game mark in the process. To date, the senior midfielder has 81 this season and 155 in her career, both are far-and-away Dartmouth and Ivy League records.
BIG-TIME PLAYERS SCORE
Junior Hana Bowers (Old Greenwich, Conn.) and senior Sarah Parks (Ellicott City, Md.) stepped up and scored the two game winners this weekend in Philadelphia. Bowers' first of two of the day pushed the Big Green over the hump and gave her team its first lead in the title game against Penn on Sunday, while Parks found the back of the net midway through the second half with a goal that proved to be the eventual winner against the Big Red.
Senior Kirsten Goldberg (Cockeysville, Md.) scored two goals against both Cornell and Penn during the league's postseason tourney, joining Bowers as the only two players to do so. Her tally with 1:28 left in the first half against the Quakers got Dartmouth on the board and started the run of six straight tallies to capture the league crown.
Often overlooked due to a lack of numbers on the stat sheet, several Dartmouth defenders made crucial contributions to the team's weekend sweep in the City of Brotherly Love. Junior Kelsey Johnson (Hingham, Mass.) and senior Georgia Bird (Summit, N.J.) played stifling defense in front of Giovanniello, helping limit the league's top offensive team in Cornell to six goals below its season average and Penn to its lowest output in a single game in more than a year.
For their play in the shadows of the Philadelphia skyline, Plumb, Bowers, Goldberg, Johnson, Bird and Giovanniello were all rewarded with spots on the all-tournament team.
NCAA TOURNAMENT TIME
- Dartmouth will be making its 13th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament this weekend, including its 12th under head coach Amy Patton, now in her 20th season. Last season marked a return to the tourney for the Big Green, who had not played in the postseason since finishing as the national runner-up in 2006 in its second straight Final Four.
- Dartmouth's first appearance in the NCAAs came in 1983 with a two-goal loss at Princeton, 12-10. A 10-year gap followed before the Big Green returned to the dance in 1993, sparking a run of 10 appearances in a 13-year span.
- In all Dartmouth is 10-12 in the NCAA Tournament, including 8-3 in games played in Hanover. The team's lone road win in the postseason bracket came in 1999 at Loyola in Baltimore as Dartmouth won handily, 20-7, in the first round.
The championship tilt with Penn may seem like a low-scoring, defensive affair, and it was, but the 6-4 final score does no justice to the type of drama that played out Sunday afternoon at Dunning-Cohen Champions Field in Penn Park. The home team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, despite strong play from the Big Green. Nearing the end of the first half and into the second, the Dartmouth found its rhythm offensively and erased the deficit to take its first lead of the afternoon roughly 11 minutes into the final frame. The Green and White allowed just one second-half goal to the Quakers, coming in the final minute when the game was all but decided.
WHERE TO NEXT?
The winner of Sunday's game will take on either Navy or fifth-ranked North Carolina next weekend in the national quarterfinals. The site of this year's Final Four is set for Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island May 25 and 27.