HANOVER, N.H. - Freshman Jaclyn Leto scored with 5.8 seconds left in regulation to give the 12th-ranked Dartmouth women's lacrosse team an exciting 11-10 win over in-state rival New Hampshire Thursday afternoon.
The win was the 16th straight regular season victory for the Big Green at Scully-Fahey Field dating back three seasons as the game served as the team's 2013 home opener.
Dartmouth improves to 2-0 with the narrow victory, while the Wildcats are now 0-3 on the young season after suffering the heart-breaking defeat. It was also the third straight win for the Green and White in the series between the two programs.
"I think it showed a lot of character. I would rather we would not be in these positions, but after a slow start to the second half we really stepped it up in the final five minutes," head coach Amy Patton said of her team's second straight one-goal victory to start the year.
UNH took its first lead since 1-0 late in the second half before Amber Casiano made it a two-goal game at 10-8 with just 6:15 left in the final frame.
That's when senior Hana Bowers, the Ivy League's reigning Offensive Player of the Week, stepped up and scored twice in 55 seconds to tie it up.
After a costly Wildcats turnover in the offensive end in the final two minutes, Dartmouth took the ball the other direction and held for the last shot of the game. With junior Liz Calby driving the net through the middle, it left Leto all alone at the top of the arc for the open shot and the game-winning goal.
Calby's pass was just one of her numerous contributions for the Big Green' offense as she finished the day with four goals and two assists for a career-high six points. Not to be outdone, senior Courtney Bennett scored three times and assisted on another with all four points coming in the opening frame. Bennett also added four crucial draw controls in the outing.
In goal, junior Kristen Giovanniello stopped three shots to record her 25th career win (25-10). UNH split time between starter Kathleen O'Keefe (6 saves) and Taylor Hurwitz (2 saves), with the latter allowing Leto's marker to be saddled with the loss.
The Wildcats' offense ran through Laura Puccia and her four goals, while three other players posted three-point afternoons for the visitors.
Patton is now 20-1 in home openers in her Dartmouth coaching career, including eight wins against her team's Granite State foes from Durham.
The Green held a 26-17 advantage in shots as well as a narrow 12-11 lead in draw controls. UNH had 14 turnovers to Dartmouth's 12.
There is little time to rest for the Big Green as they open Ivy League play Saturday at Yale with the opening draw set for 1 p.m. in New Haven.